Nowitzki vs Shaq - DOC by cmlang


									by: Jonathon Hardcastle

It is one of the sportswriter's favorite tricks before every NBA finals to pick one leading player
of each finalist team and call the series a duel between those players. This trick has been always
really effective in the promotion of the game and of the NBA. NBA funs have watched a lot of
those duels in the past: Bird vs. Magic, Jordan vs. Drexler, Olajuwon vs. Ewing or Robinson etc.
The similarities and the differences between the duelers made the games even greater to watch,
although we have to mention that basketball is a five against five sports, with the seven players
of each team coming from the bench having also an important role in the game, not to mention
the coaches, the general managers and the owners.

This year Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks are the two teams that will fight for the title and
another duel has to be found. In the case of Dallas Nowitzki who is undoubtedly the best player
in his team, things are easy. But in the case of Miami, some research on O'Neal's background
was necessary to show that Dirk and Shaq have both the similarities and the differences to
consist a "sexy" duel. They are both big men, although their game is totally different, they are
both leaders in their teams, although having far different characters.

Both Nowitzki and O'Neal have started playing basketball in Germany. Dirk was born and raised
in Wuerzburg, while Shaq spent some of his childhood in Wildflecken, where his stepfather
Harrison was stationed with the U.S. Army. Most importantly, both of them want bad ly to win
the NBA championship. The German forward has not won a title yet, neither with the Mavericks
nor with the national team of Germany. On the other hand the American center, although he has
already won three NBA champion's rings and one Gold Olympic medal in the past, he wants to
prove that he is still the best in the league.

Moving to the differences that the two players have, the first one is obvious, O'Neal is an
African-American, while Nowitzki is one of the few Caucasian players that became NBA stars.
Dirk had played all his life in Dallas, while Shaq has played for three different teams in the
NBA. Shaq had won many titles, but was always helped by great teammates, Dirk had won
nothing but the only really great teammate he had was Steve Nash, who he left Dallas two year
ago. O'Neal has a BA and an MBA, he had appeared in several motion pictures, authored two
children books and he is an accomplished rapper. One of his nicknames is "the Big Aristotle for
his composure and insights during interviews. On the other hand Nowitzki is mostly
concentrated on basketball and he has been called "Dirk the Work" for his immaculate work
ethic. He never attended college, he also loves music but he plays the saxophone instead of

The biggest difference between them will be though, that after the final series only one of those
will have the title of the "NBA champion" of 2006.

This article was posted on September 12, 2006

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