For anyone who missed it, and so far it seems to be everyone (including the 2 people watching the incident with me)... Kenny Smith seems to have an odd criticism of Dirk Nowitzki.
But first, a little background on basketball player-turned-broadcaster Kenny Smith, for those who may be unfamiliar with his work. During his illustrious tenure at perennial powerhouse North Carolina (1983/84-1986/87), the Tar Heels never won an NCAA championship... Never made the Final Four... Never even won the ACC Tournament.
He was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 1987 and led them to an illustrious 24-58 season. Smith's Globetrotterian dominance of the game allowed the Kings to soar to a dramatically improved 27-55 record in his second year. Kenny was traded midway through the 89/90 season, so you can credit him with half of Sacramento's 23-59 effort and half of Atlanta's 41-41 study in mediocrity (this triumph with a team that had Dominique Wilkins, Kevin Willis, Doc Rivers, Moses Malone, and Spud Webb!)
The Hawks apparently didn't appreciate the hardcourt wizardry of Mr. Kenny Smith, because the next season he was a Houston Rocket.
It was Houston where Kenny drew up the road map to success he still follows to this very day. It's a two phase plan:
Phase 1: Find a talented big man
Phase 2: Latch on like a parasite and bask in the glories he earns
Kenny Smith is the NBA equivalent of the remora. Also known as the Whalesucker or Sharksucker, the remora attaches itself to a larger fish and uses the larger fish for transportation, protection, and (by eating dropped chunks of food or the feces of the host fish) sustenance.
It worked for him with the Rockets, where he won two NBA Championships while cruising in Hakeem Olajuwon's wake. And it works for him now, as he earns ridiculous amounts of money by laughing at Charles Barkley's jokes.
You'd think Kenny would be content to just feed off Barkley's dropped food and feces, laughing at Sir Charles' antics and cashing fat checks.
But no, Kenny Smith occasionally feels compelled to share his thoughts with Charles and Ernie Johnson, too.
I was sure that by now, someone else would have posted this online somewhere or some local outlet would have mentioned it and there would be much Dallas/Fort Worth outrage. But nobody else seems to have heard Kenny Smith make reference to "a non-rebounding 7 footer" coming out of the commercial immediately preceding Dirk Nowitzki's first round in the 3-Point Shootout.
I suppose Kenny could have been talking about some other 7 footer besides the one about to take the floor in front of him... But I doubt it.
Now, you can say a lot of things about Dirk. You can say that he often disappears for crucial stretches in critical games. You can say that Stephen Jackson shamed him in the 2007 Playoffs, absolutely whipped him like a broken down mule. You can say that he doesn't consistently assert himself in the types of games where true franchise players make their reputation. You can mock his love of Hasselhoff, you can insult his choice of footwear, you can call his post-playoff meltdown MVP award:
(T)he most shameful awards ceremony involving a German since Jesse Owens received his fourth gold medal at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
But you can't call him "a non-rebounding 7 footer".
Because for anyone wondering, Dirk is currently tied for 27th (along with Ben Wallace and Nick Collison) in the league in Rebounds per game. That puts him ahead of Pau Gasol (who Kenny calls "a versatile low-post threat" that makes the Lakers "a favorite to win the Western Conference."), ahead of Shaq, and ahead of 6'11" heroes like Rasheed Wallace, Jermaine O'Neal, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
But hey, why let facts get in the way of an almost entirely off-air joke? And why should being too stupid to listen for a countdown or watch a monitor so he'd know when to stop talking trash diminish the merit of Smith's opinion?
I think Mark Cuban said it best on his blog back during a 2005 dispute with Kenny and Charles:
Kenny wants to be the coach, but wont do the work, so never will be more than a sidekick.Kenny, I think I speak for all of the TY Sports Team when I say that if you're tired of riding in Barkley's wake, eating his food crumbs and feces... You're welcome to eat ours instead.