Dirk Nowitzki is a forward that has seen a lot during his 18 years in the NBA. As an NBA Champion, former MVP, Finals MVP and 13-time All-Star, the 7'0" German has done it all and more importantly, he's faced them all.
At least, he thought he had. That was until the seemingly superhuman Stephen Curry entered the NBA realm, and the 28-year-old has been setting records and defying conventions for the past two years like his life depends on it.
The Dallas Mavericks stalwart can hardly believe what Curry has been up to as part of the Golden State Warriors' assault on a second consecutive NBA title. Despite facing the likes of Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan during his career, the 2006 Three-Point Shootout champion thinks Curry is the most unique.
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"I mean, I don't think this league has ever seen anything like it," Nowitzki said. "His range is basically as soon as he crosses half court. He's making shots look routine that no other player can even make in practice consistently. He just makes it look effortless. He just kind of goes up from the dribble in one motion, doesn't waste any effort there. Incredible.
"He's so much fun to watch. When he's in the zone, I catch myself screaming at the TV, 'Shoot! Shoot!' as soon as he crosses half court. It's so much fun to watch."
And Nowitzki isn't the only one. Curry has become a bit of a cultural phenomenon beyond the NBA because of his aesthetically pleasing play and is rapidly becoming the face of the league. Nowitzki thinks it's easy to see why.
"You know, we've had some great athletes and specimens in this league, but that's not him," Nowitzki said. "He's a smaller guy. Obviously, he's quick, but the way he makes it is with skill. That's why everybody is rooting for him, because everybody can relate to him."
Nowitzki is a bit of a pioneer himself having made his one-legged fadeaway shot famous, as well as being widely perceived as one of the first power forwards to be able to drop in three-pointers.
He believes that Curry's style is going to have a profound impact on the game moving forward.
"Yeah, I just don't know if we'll see that again," Nowitzki said. "Obviously, a lot of kids now are going to try to imitate that and shoot 3s from deep. Maybe in a few years, that's normal.
"I don't know. If kids start shooting at an early age, start hoisting runners from 40 feet, maybe 10 years down the road you do have to move the 3-point line back. But as of now, he's really the only guy that can make those over and over and over. If you watch his pregame, he does that all the time. He's a freak."