1188. That’s how many games Dirk Nowitzki has played in his illustrious 16-year career in the NBA. The superstar forward has only played a full season twice (1999, 2000), but he still thinks 82 games is simply too many for a single season. In light of the NBA’s decision to experiment implementing a shorter game clock, Dirk was able to state his opinion on the situation at hand.
In a recent interview with Tim MacMahon, Nowitzki expressed his distaste with the season’s current length:
"“I think you don’t need 82 games to determine the best eight in each conference. “That could be done a lot quicker, but I always understand that it’s about money, and every missed game means missed money for both parties, for the league, for the owners, for the players. I understand all that, and that’s why I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon.”"
Dirk further stated that he’d rather see the league implement a season with its number of games in the “mid 60s.” Along with Nowitzki, Cleveland’s Lebron James also commented on the length of the NBA season. The Cavalier pointed out that the problem wasn’t the length of the individual games but rather the length of the season itself. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and former NBA player Shane Battier are among others who favor shortening the season by a considerable amount.
In the same interview, Dirk went on to point out his least favorite aspect of the 82-game season: back-to-back games.
"“Honestly, I never was a big fan of back-to-backs even when I was 20 years old. I think that you should never have to play at the highest level there is two consecutive nights and flying in between. You obviously make it work. We have the best athletes in the world, we feel, but I think it hurts the product some. Last year, some teams get here for the fourth game in five nights and we’ve been sitting here on rest and just blow them out.“I don’t think it’s good for the product, but I also understand that 82 games is where it’s at. It’s a business, and everybody’s got to live with it.”"
Nowitzki implies that many other players in the league would agree that back-to-back games don’t give an accurate representation of the level of competition when one of the teams is worn out from playing too many games in such a short period of time. Perhaps the league will some day realize this as well and turn to implementing Dirk’s “mid 60s” season.