They’re the MVPs of the psychiatric world. Names like Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche and Carl Jung are a Germanic Who’s Who in the annals of mental hygiene.
Maybe it comes natural to Deutschlanders or maybe he’s just grown into a leader. Whatever the reason, Dallas Maverick’s All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki has been practicing his own form of mind management on teammates this season.
Back in March, Dirk made a statement that’s come back to haunt him, at least where sportswriter Skip Bayless is concerned. After a win over Indiana where Jason Terry sealed the deal late in the game, Nowitzki stated: “He’s one of our closers. I can’t see anybody else taking that (shot) (ESPN Dallas Report / 3-4 / TM).”
The star (and resident bulls-eye) of ESPN’s morning show First Take (1st and 10) believes the Maverick’s main man is “mentally-soft,” unwilling or unable to bear the burden of a buzzer-beater with the game on the line (5-17).
Normally on target himself (except when carrying water for the Cowboys and Packers), the Skipper showed his Freudian-slip on this one. Far from an unwillingness to carry Dallas in crunch time, Dirk was merely employing some sports psychology in order to bolster the confidence of teammate Terry.
As long as the big German avoids taking refuge at the 3-point line, he’s solid as a rock.
There’s not a sixth man on the planet who wouldn’t give his two front teeth to be a star. Guys like Terry who come off the bench to sink a basket, punch it over the goal-line or slap a single need a swagger in their step.
Dirk’s no dunkoff. The former MVP knows that, as important as the willingness to take the last shot, it’s just as vital to know you have friends who can do the same. That’s the team concept: All for one and one for all. Without it, you can forget about the title.
A 121-112 opening win over a weary OKC team is a nice first session for Dallas. Most encouraging was the strong play by both Dallas stars late in the contest. But the Thunder are a young, mentally-sound bunch. They’ll make some noise before it’s all over.
And don’t expect to see a couch next to Dirk’s locker anytime soon. Though some on his team could use a little Freudian analysis, this is the playoffs, the time to put up & shut up.
Keys to Sport
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.