Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks under Rick Carlisle before taking on his current role in Portland. Stotts was with the team from 2008-2012, having a front row seat to the Mavs’ championship in 2011. In his time with Dallas, Stotts got to know franchise cornerstone Dirk Nowitzki very well.
With Nowitzki in town to play the Blazers, Stotts reflected on his time spent with the big man, as relayed by Dwain Price of Mavs.com:
Stotts, who was an assistant coach/offensive coordinator with the Mavs from 2008-’12, caught a glimpse of Nowitzki’s sense of humor first-hand.
“I will say one time, it was early in my career (in Dallas), and he hadn’t touched the ball in a little while for a few possessions,” Stotts said. “And he said, ‘Hey Stotts, give me the (expletive delete) ball. So, we did.”
Stotts talked about his growing appreciation of Nowitzki as well:
“When you’re around a guy like Dirk or any great player, you appreciate them more when you’re around them,” Stotts said. “I remember when I was in Seattle, (assistant coach) Bob Weiss came in and he goes, ‘You know I knew Gary Payton was pretty good, but I didn’t know he was this good.’ And it’s probably the same thing with Dirk.
“When you’re around (Nowitzki) every day you appreciate him as an opponent, but what he does for your team every day, whether it’s in practice, in the locker room and certainly on the court, you see it every night in the games that you can count on him every night, it just makes the appreciation grow.”
You can read more from Price’s piece here.