Separating Dirk Nowitzki from other all-time greats: 2. Revolutionized the game
Dirk changed the game of basketball. In the 1990s, a power forward played in the post and was a physical presence. Every team was playing two big men and trying to lock down the paint. Scoring was down and points were at a premium.
Enter Nowitzki, a seven-footer shooting threes and spacing the floor. By his second season, Dirk was 14th in 3-pointers attempted, and the next year he was in the top ten. The Mavericks GOAT changed how teams spaced the floor and used their power forward. He helped usher in the era of the stretch big men and was at the cutting edge of the basketball fans enjoy today.
It takes a special player to change an entire position. Every team in the NBA employs a stretch four now, but those were not a thing when Dirk came into the league in 1998. Nowitzki credits head coach Don Nelson for creating the best version of him, but revolutionizing the game takes a player to a higher level of greatness.
It is what stands out about Stephen Curry. He changed the point guard position in the same way Nowitzki did with the power forwards.
Dirk revolutionized the game and his position, but something else cemented him as one of the best to ever do it.