Ed Odeven Reporting

This column was written during the 2006 FIBA World Basketball Championship, and it appeared in The Japan Times on Aug. 22, 2006.

Battle of NBA stars a big draw

By Ed Odeven

HIROSHIMA — Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki provide the headline attraction for Monday afternoon’s 4 p.m. game here.

Both are NBA All-Star forwards. Gasol collects a lofty paycheck from the Memphis Grizzlies. Nowitzki’s millions come from eccentric Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s bank account.

Both giants provide their respective teams, Spain and Germany, incredible exposure on the national and international levels. And both players do the little things exceptionally well.

Nowitzki had a poor shooting game Sunday in his team’s 80-56 runaway win over Zealand, finishing 3-for-13 from the field at the Hiroshima Prefectural Sports Center. But really, who cares? He grabbed eight rebounds, dished out a game-high five assists and made two steals.

That performance came a…

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