Defending Dirk: Why Dallas Doesn't Embrace Its Hall of Fame Star

Those of you who bash Dirk Nowitzki - you know who you are - are racial. Not racist per se. But yes, racial.

When it comes to our games and the people who play them, first and foremost - above stats or accomplishments or character - is black and white.

Shame on you.

The calls to our show on 105.3 The Fan this morning were a symptom of a real sickness in this town. On the heels of his near-pefect 36-point Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs, Dirk was again bashed by his own "fans".

"He doesn't play defense" hollered one guy.

"He doesn't show up in the big games," barked another.

"He's soft. He'll never be an A-plus player," chortled yet another.

I know racial profiling ain't P.C., but eff it. Here's my profile of the Dirk hater:

*Is either too lazy, too uneducated or too malicious to correctly pronounce his name. ("Nowinski)

*Is determined not to let any tangible stats get in the way of broad, esoteric generalizations.

*Is African-American.

Funny, but in San Antonio today they aren't talking how Nowitzki is soft or overrated or can't play defense. They're talking about how their once-proud franchise was reduced to purposefully fouling another player just to keep Dirk from scoring on them.

I'll say it again: Dirk is the most underrated, underappreciated player in the history of Dallas sports. He's the best player in Mavericks' history. A no-brainer Hall of Famer. He's accomplished every goal and received every honor - short of a championship.

But because he's white, some folks refuse to acknowledge his greatness. It's as insane as it is stubborn. Of course, we hear the same racial polarizing when it comes to Terrell Owens, Tony Romo and Ron Washington. I'll let you guess who backs whom.

Allow me to retort on some of the criticisms hurled at Dirk:

*He doesn't show up in the playoffs - Granted he had a horrible Game 6 against Golden State in 2007, but he's one of only five players to average at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in the playoffs. In 98 career post-season games, he's produced 34 games of 30+ points. The premise is convenient, but just not factual.

*He's soft. Just a jump shooter - His pet move is the fadeaway, but Dirk had the third-most made free throws in the NBA this season. Somewhere along the way he just must have taken it to the hoop a time or two.

*He doesn't play defense - If he's below-average on defense, he's triple above-average on offense. Why are some of us fixated on how Dirk doesn't guard, instead of how on offense he's simply unguardable?

Answer: Because he's white. Because he doesn't have tattoos or a highlight reel of dunks. Because he doesn't taunt. Because he doesn't have a sic crossover that would make fans of the And1 Tour literally fall all over each other even though the move is an obvious carrying violation.

No, Dirk will simply shrug off the critics, make 12 of 14 shots and connect on 86 consecutive free throws and counting. Around the NBA he's one of the league's best players who consistently pushes his team to 50 wins and a playoff berth and an annual chance at a championship.

Shame that around here - in some neighborhoods - he's nothing more a white loser.

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