Even though the NBA is a league where competitiveness and being intelligent will get you a long way, most of the players are friends among each other and learn from playing together.
Jason Kidd is one of these types of players, and his 19-year-long career full of achievements is the best example of that type of dedication to his craft. In an excellent article for The Players Tribune, Jason Kidd gave a fascinating insight into his former teammate Dirk Nowitzki and his approach to shooting and practice in general.
Kidd reunited with the Dallas Mavericks once again in 2008 and would later win his first and only championship with the team from Dallas.
“I returned to Dallas in 2008, to the team that drafted me. By then, it was Dirk’s team, without question. I was entering my fifteenth season, and one of the biggest lessons I’d learned along the way was to stay asking other guys for advice. To always try to keep learning and evolving your game. That season, coming into Dallas, I knew I wanted to improve my outside shot. Dirk was a three-point machine.”
The advice Dirk gave to Kidd was not something he was expecting, though, and the main reason for that is the unordinary approach Dirk has when it comes shooting.
“Dirk proceeded to give me this detailed, multipart lesson in shooting. It’s like I was in some basketball masterclass taught by a seven-footer with a buzz cut. And I swear, Dirk’s advice — it was the wildest advice of my entire life. It made zero sense to me at the time, and yet it seemed to make all the sense in the world to Dirk.
Spacing your fingers just like this. Tuck your arm. Spread your feet like this. Release the ball like this.
It was all making sense. I was following along. That’s when he got this serious look on his face and said, “The key to shooting is, you have to breathe.”
Through your eyes. Breathe through your eyes.”
BREATHE. THROUGH YOUR EYES??
I didn’t know how to respond. We kept shooting, and Dirk was just kind of shaking his head at me. Maybe he was punking me? To this day, your guess is as good as mine.”
It’s safe to say the method Dirk uses for his shooting is unordinary, but it produces results since he is by far the best shooting man in NBA history and, while in his prime, capable of scoring 30 points against any team in the NBA.
Kidd, on the other hand, was never known as a reliable shooter, but it’s important to stress out how he was able to improve his shooting in the later stage of his career. He developed a consistent jump shot even from the three-point land, which made him a more dangerous player also in the latter stages of his career with Dallas and the Knicks.