Dirk Nowitzki ends Father Time debate

FRISCO, Texas -- Charles Barkley started it and Saturday with the Round Mound sitting next to him, Dirk Nowitzki ended it -- in agreement?

Barkley, of course, came out last season on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Galloway & Co.," as Dirk was struggling with a right knee issue and said that the 7-foot German is on the downward slide. Hey, it's Mother Nature, er, Father Time, bro, Barkley said, happens to everyone. That set off quite the debate locally whether Dirk, who turned 34 a few weeks ago, really was declining or if his physical struggles were an abberation.

Barkley, in town to play in Dirk's Heroes Celebrity baseball game, was asked if he still believes Father Time is nipping at Dirk's high tops.

"Dirk’s been a helluva player, but he’s obviously on the downside of his career," Barkley said, emphasizing the last part of the sentence for effect. "First off all, you don’t get better as you get older. I don’t know if he’s got some special German blood, maybe they do get better as they get older over there. But any time you start putting great miles on your body you can tell. I watch the games different than most normal people. Like I tell people, when I watch Kevin Garnett play, I say Kevin Garnett is shooting a lot of jumpers. Why? Because Kevin Garnett can’t explode to the basket anymore. Same thing with Tim Duncan. I know what I’m watching. I’m not like a normal fan, like why don’t he go to the basket? Because he can’t."

Nowitzki, who will enter his 15th season, was asked if he has rebuttal.

"Uh, no, he’s dead on," Nowitzki said. "I’m old."