Skip to content

Now they’re comparing Luongo to Nowitzki

Oct 26, 2011, 1:19 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo Getty Images

A week ago, we compared Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to Donovan McNabb, the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback who came close to leading his team to a championship but could never quite get over the hump.

If that comparison was depressing for Canucks fans (or uplifting for non-Canucks fans), Vancouver Province columnist Tony Gallagher is thinking of another professional athlete whose story had a much happier ending than McNabb’s in Philadelphia.

As Roberto Luongo listens to the general howl around him he should look across to the NBA and the career of Dirk Nowitzki for fuel to propel him forward.

And those who look at the evidence to date and feel that Luongo just doesn’t have a championship in him had better be prepared to dine on those words if he ever does pull it off. Because that’s what Nowitzki was able to do for the Dallas Mavericks this spring, the parallels in the careers of these two athletes absolutely breathtaking.

I’m not sure if I’d use the word breathtaking (mostly because I associate it with the ugly baby in Seinfeld), but as Gallagher points out, the similarities are indeed compelling.

Both have been considered outstanding players with great regular seasons but too fragile mentally to get it done in the crucible of the playoffs. Prior to this past NBA final, both players had reached the finals in their respective leagues and in that final both teams led by their respective stars Luongo and Nowitzki had gone out to 2-0 leads in that final (and here we refer to the ’06 NBA final between Dallas and Miami). Both teams were even in good shape in game three on the road, the Mavs with a double-digit lead, the Canucks having survived Aaron Rome‘s major and the Bruins initial thrust to get out of period one scoreless.

Both teams and both players melted down and eventually lost their respective series under circumstances that seemed to have an odd officiating twist.

And you wonder why Canucks fans are always saying Gary Bettman is out to get their team. Much of it is media driven. But we won’t get into that now.

Comparing one athlete to another can be a useful exercise. In this case, it serves to illustrate the fact we can’t predict the future. In Philadelphia, there were people who said McNabb would never get it done, and they were right. In Dallas, there were people who said Nowitzki would never get it done, and they were wrong.

But comparing one athlete to another provides proof of absolutely nothing. Luongo isn’t McNabb. He’s not Nowitzki either. He’s Luongo. And perhaps more importantly, the Canucks aren’t the Eagles or the Mavericks. Which is to say, “See? Nowitzki won a championship” is a feeble argument if you’re trying to convince someone the Canucks can win the Stanley Cup with Luongo in goal. (Not that Gallagher’s making that argument.)

It’s still interesting though, because it shows one of the main reasons we follow sports. Because we have no idea what’s coming next. Luongo had another rough outing last night in Edmonton. No word if he’ll start tonight versus the Blues. See? We have no idea!

  1. jpelle82 - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    dirk has a ring…no comparison here

  2. imleftcoast - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Schneider starts tonight per Ben Kuzma.

  3. canucks18 - Oct 26, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Jpelle… After reading a couple posts of yours I have come to the conclusion that you have no clue. Ur a clown, a joke and you would probably be better fit to talk tiddlywinks

    • danphipps01 - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:06 PM

      You have “Canucks” in your username. You’re pretty much the Luke Skywalker to our Mos Eisley Cantina here. Not everyone loves your prima donna team. A lot of people respect your fans about as much as they do Montreal’s – and hilariously, for exactly the same reasons. Deal with it.

  4. hibackhand - Oct 26, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    tiddlywinks would be a tough sport to comment on.

  5. rainyday56 - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    Wow, gutsy, never seen you guys openly debate the Grand Master G when you were the KB. Having said that, I myself am wondering what Tony G was smoking before writing that piece. Nowitzky is a forward. Lou is a goalie. They don’t even allow goal tending in the NBA. Nowitzky never had a guy better than him on the bench ready to take his job either. If you are going to compare Lou to an elite athlete in another sport, I offer: Soccer’s Hope Solo in DWTS (yeah I watch it):

    Luongo (as Hope Solo: “boo hoo, I don’t want to do this anymore” … )

    Vancouver public opinion (as Maks: “s*** it up, princess”)

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Alfredsson (1937)
  2. B. Bishop (1893)
  3. M. Fleury (1722)
  4. J. Schultz (1474)
  5. C. Anderson (1462)
  1. D. Krejci (1441)
  2. J. Boychuk (1435)
  3. E. Staal (1364)
  4. R. Lehner (1264)
  5. D. Setoguchi (1258)