The 40-year-old Dallas Mavericks icon told The Athletic's Frank Isola the new generation of NBA stars might care more about followers on their social media accounts than championship rings on their fingers:
"I don't know if it's about winning as much anymore as it is looking good on Instagram, Twitter, having followers and having clicks and likes. I do agree 20 years ago people weren't on their phones as much.
"... But I'm not going to blame everything on social media. We're all competitors. I usually based my happiness on winning and losing. When we won it was fun. We would play music after games. When we lost we were pissed. That's what I based my happiness on.
"Guys would sit around the locker room waiting for the coach to talk and during that wait there would be conversations taking place. Now it is 15 guys on their phones. There's not much time being spent together."
Nowitzki added he's not sure of the impact social media has as a whole, hinting at Commissioner Adam Silver's assertion earlier this week that players' unhappiness is a "direct result" of social media.
Nowitzki, who has been in the league since 1998, is as qualified as anybody to speak on this. Shortly after his comments on social media spread around, well, on social media, he passed John Stockton for third on the all-time list for NBA games played. While making his 1,505 regular-season appearances, he has won an NBA championship and been named an All-Star 14 times.