Tuesday night at Staples Center was the final time the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers faced each other in the 2015-16 NBA season. Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant sat out the game due to injury, meaning he missed his last chance to go up against future Hall of Famer, Dirk Nowitzki.
Bryant has enjoyed some great moments in his retirement tour and although he enjoys the appreciation he gets from opposing fans, he also cherishes going up against the league’s best talents. Nowitzki and the Mavericks have had some great battles over the years with the Lakers, and the two star players have been on the front line for all of them.
After the Mavericks 92-90 win over the Lakers, Nowitzki spoke to the media about Kobe Bryant and what he has meant to the league and to his career as well, via Greg Beacham of The Associated Press:
Dirk on Kobe: "He's our Michael Jordan for our generation. He's one of the best to ever lace 'em up. It's been a pleasure and an honor."
— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) January 27, 2016
Nowitzki himself is one of the greatest players in NBA history and he is an idol for almost every European trying to enter the league. Such high praise from another legend just shows how much respect Kobe has garnered from his peers.
Nowitzki finished the night with just 13 points, but his fadeaway jumper in the final seconds put the Mavs up two. Even though the German forward did not have the most productive of nights, he can always be counted to come up in the clutch.
Los Angeles suffered their seventh consecutive loss and is now 9-38 on the season. The Lakers are sitting at the bottom of the Pacific Division and are headed to the draft lottery for the third consecutive season.