Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry changed how NBA basketball is played with his legendary shooting, but he knows there's someone before him who made as much impact as he did: Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki.

After the Warriors lost to the Mavs in Nowitzki's jersey retirement day, Curry opened up how the German great changed basketball for good. The Dubs sharpshooter called Dirk an “icon” who made the NBA global and paved the way for international players to make it to the top professional basketball competition in the world.

“An icon. Everyone talks about changing the game and he definitely did that… he opened up the gates for international players… just the art form of shooting the basketball with his height and touch, something no one has ever seen before,” Curry said of Nowitzki, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

As Stephen Curry said it, and as his head coach Steve Kerr highlighted before Wednesday's contest, Dirk Nowitzki is one of the greatest, if not the best international player of all-time. He also pioneered the era of sweet-shooting big men, with his success sending other NBA teams into a frenzy to find the “next Dirk” in Europe and all over the world.

The Mavs gave Nowitzki quite the gift after they took down the Warriors, and while it could be a frustrating night for Curry given his shooting woes, it's certainly a classy gesture for him to honor the greatest Mav of all time.