EDMONTON, AB - Big praise from a big fellow German.
Dirk Nowitzki, the seven-foot 14-time NBA all-star who played 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, shared some love for Leon Draisaitl in a recent interview with Stefan Herget, chief author of NHL.com's German content.
"This is absolutely amazing, I am happy and happy for him," Nowitzki said - translated from German - of Draisaitl winning the 2019-20 Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer with 110 points in 71 games prior to the season pause.
"There are so many great athletes in this league and if he scores the most points in the regular season it is an amazing achievement. And his limit is the sky, because he is only 24 years old and will continue to work on himself. I met him at my charity soccer game and he is very down to earth and super cool. He is a hard worker and really deserves this achievement."
Video: REWIND 19-20 | Leon Draisaitl
Ballots for this year's NHL Awards were finalized on Monday, with Draisaitl expected to be one of the favourites to win the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP, in addition to his scoring title.
Despite averaging 20.7 points per game over the course of his 1,522-game career, Nowitzki was named NBA MVP just once in 2007 and believes Draisaitl will be in the running for many years to come.
"It is damn hard to win the MVP, no matter which league," he said. "There are so many great athletes in every sport. It would be a huge thing for him if a German player in this league could achieve that and an absolutely amazing performance. I keep my fingers crossed that it will work out. He is very young and has had an incredible season. Of course, he will have many more chances in the future to become the MVP, even if it does not happen this year."