Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade have spent years battling each other on the court, and as both prepare to retire and play each other one last time, the Mavericks forward recently spoke fondly of their relationship.
Speaking to ESPN’s Tim McMahon ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat, Dirk Nowitzki was asked about the sometimes contentious relationship between he and Wade, and according to Dirk, there’s nothing but respect between the two of them.
As Dwyane Wade prepares for his final visit to Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki reflected on the formerly “frosty” relationship between the two-time Finals foes. pic.twitter.com/OAyuXdtFVH
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 12, 2019
“Mutual respect. Of course, like I’ve said, after ’06, we had some frosty times, but I think that’s way behind us. I always say he pushed me to become the player in ’11 to ultimately win.” he said, before alluding to the infamous 2006 NBA Finals that saw the Miami Heat take down Dallas behind Wade’s stellar four-game stretch. “There were some things said after the ’06 Finals, and both sides didn’t love it. There were some times that we didn’t speak much. But I always watched from afar.”
Dirk and Wade have a long history with each other, and it continued in 2011 when the Dallas Mavericks were able to upset the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh led Miami Heat in that years NBA Finals. While speaking of Wade, Dirk also gave him some major praise, calling him one of the game’s best players. “He’s one of the best two guards to ever play the game. It’s an honor to obviously represent in the All-Star Game with him. He pushed me and made me the player I became later.”
While both players will likely see some minutes in tomorrow’s game, it technically won’t be the last time they play each other. Wade and Nowitzki were also drafted to different All-Star teams for the upcoming contest, with LeBron James taking Wade and Giannis Antetokounmpo taking Dirk.
Hopefully, fans will be able to see one last matchup between the two of them during All-Star Weekend, before both players say their respective goodbyes to the NBA.