DALLAS - Long before former NBA stars Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki became members of the Dallas Mavericks organization in leadership roles, the two were teammates.
When Kidd made his return to the Mavericks in 2008, he knew that a great resource to lean on for help in the jump shooting department would be his new teammate Dirk Nowitzki.
Kidd explained in an article he wrote for The Player's Tribune in 2018 that he learned during his time in the NBA to ask teammates for advice. That was something he made a point to do with Nowitzki when he rejoined the Mavericks.
“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.”
Kidd recounted his experience when he sought Nowitzki's guidance on making improvements to his shooting mechanic and general approach.
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At first, Nowitzki provided some helpful insights between the spacing of the fingers on the ball, tucking the arm, spreading the feet, and how to release the ball. However, the 'key' to shooting? Nowitzki explained to Kidd the secret is to "Breathe through your eyes."
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.”
“O.K., Dirk. Got it.”
“No. Through your eyes. Breathe through your eyes.”
Kidd explained wrote that he wasn't sure whether or not Nowitzki was 'punking' him with his advice.
“I didn’t know how to respond,” the guard explained. “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.”
Surely, Kidd would appreciate Nowitzki providing tips to the players on the team given that he will be spending plenty of time with the organization in his 'special advisor' role.
This time around, perhaps he can elaborate on how to 'breathe through your eyes.'