Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dirk and Kidd: Carlisle's rooting interest

The five-ringed spotlight falls on Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd later this week, for different reasons, as the Olympics open in Beijing. Kidd has been there and done that with Team USA. This is all new for Nowitzki, freshly chosen as the German flag bearer.

“I’ll be watching it very closely just because I have a rooting interest for both guys,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’m viewing the Olympic experience as very positive for our team because I think that kind of experience will help your growth as a player.”

You can bet Carlisle has Aug. 18 circled, as the Americans and Germans finish off pool play against each other. (Olympic schedule.) Nowitzki and Kidd last faced off against one another in the All-Star Game.

“The Olympics will be of great interest to all Mavs fans because of these two guys and it’s two great stories,” Carlisle continued. “Jason Kidd is the elder statesman and captain of the US team, and Dirk is the captain and inspirational leader of Germany’s team. It’s a huge deal.”

Carlisle spent some time with Nowitzki in Germany earlier this summer and came away with a better understanding of why the Olympic dream meant so much.

“I was able to get a feel for how important this is to him, his teammates and his country,” Carlisle said. “To qualify again for the Olympics … it’s been so long. This establishes a lasting legacy in his country.”

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