DALLAS _ Dirk Nowitzki has been in the NBA since the 1998-’99 season – two years before Kobe Bryant was traded by the Charlotte Hornets on draft day to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nowitzki has led the Mavs to the playoffs every year since the 2000-’01 campaign. Bryant, meanwhile, guided the Lakers to the playoffs from 1996-2004, and from ’05 through this season.
However, along the way, somehow Nowitzki and the Mavs never had the pleasure of meeting Bryant and the Lakers in the playoffs.
Game 1 of the Mavs-Lakers best-of-seven second-round playoff series will be played Monday at 9:30 p.m. CDT in Los Angeles. And it’s a good bet that the NBA’s marketing machine will be hyping Kobe vs. Dirk until their blue in the face.
“This is my 11th year in the playoffs,’’ Nowitzki said. “At the beginning when we were starting to be good it was always the Kings, it was always Sacramento with Vlade (Divac) and (Chris Webber) and those guys (who the Mavs met in the playoffs).
“Then it was San Antonio for awhile almost every year, so yeah it’s kind of ironic that we never saw (the Lakers) in the playoffs, so it’s about time. It’ll be a great matchup with some great players in the series, so it should be fun to watch.’’
-- Dwain Price
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