‘I came here when I was 20, probably the worst 7-foot rebounder in the league at that time, I still wouldn’t say that I am the greatest rebounder, but I have learned to use my length some’ – Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Werner Nowitzki, a ‘White German’ Power Forward, with no experience in the NCAA, deciding to pass up college offers, who was eyeing to leave his own mark in the game which was dominated by the ‘Players in the USA’. An alumnus of DJK Wurzburg basketball club, aiming to hold a burden & responsibility of a whole European Contingent despite knowing how difficult it is to survive in the modern NBA
He moved to a country to chase a European Dream paving a pathway to the Eurobasket.
Greg Buckner – Former Dallas teammate of Dirk’s stated, ‘People were booing him because Nellie drafted him & making a trade for Tractor Taylor’. This is in a reference where Milwaukee Bucks picking up Dirk Nowitzki 9th in the overall draft pick and then trading Dirk to Dallas for Taylor who was 6th Overall pick
Nicknamed as ‘Soft Euro, majorly because nobody expected him to create much of an impact on the board and on the game. However, this viewpoint was changed and how! Nowitzki revolutionized the game of Power Forwards (PF). Traditionally big men above the height if 6ft 8 are hesitant when it comes to taking a 3 point attempt as they basically think their work is under the rim. But when it comes to Dirk, he changed the whole game plan, he is currently 12th in all-time made 3’s and 1st amongst players above 6’8ft and higher. One of the greatest Rebounder the Big Shaq has just scored a single 3 pointer in his entire NBA career.
One of the Reasons for naming this blog as ‘The Unforgettable Fadeaway’, is Dirk’s creation of an Unguardable shot of all time. This fadeaway shot has been emulated/ followed/ attempted by a lot of current NBA superstars namely – Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, etc. Here’s how he elaborates his Unguardable shot – ‘I came up with a shot where I have to lean back, don’t be athletic at all and just hoist the ball up’ he called it as the white version of ‘The Dream Shake’ which was created by Hakeem Olajuwon who’s also an NBA Legend. This shot was so unguardable that ESPN Sports Science did a feature on this shot and concluded that it almost creates a 3 feet separation between Dirk and the Defender.
Until Dirk arrived in the late ’90s, Dallas Mavericks were one of the worst franchise in terms of the winning record and also the Texas fans were reluctant to put their trust on, it was Dirk’s leadership which got the Mavericks franchise under notice and guiding into the playoffs phase from a position of a Lottery Pick team. Guiding the team into playoffs was not only his aim, he never gave up on the team thereby declining multiple offers from various teams and also taking a pay cut to stick with the Dallas Mavericks. One of the major accomplishment of his career is Clinching the 2011 NBA championship. During the 2010 – 11 season, Dirk was injured in most of his midseason battling with a lot of ankle and knee injuries. No matter how much people wanted to write off Dallas Mavericks out of championship contention, it was Nowitzki’s presence that always created a difference on the court. Looking at the team on paper, it looked it they would not even qualify for the playoffs, but putting the Big 3 LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh Miami Heat, clinched the Championship for the 1st time in their history. Even in the record books, 2011 NBA Championship was one of the best match-ups after a long time and Mavericks on an individual basis were not as exciting, but on a team level they knocked off the major teams who were supposedly on the odds of winning the championship.
2011 Dallas Mavericks team is considered to be the last Super team to win an NBA Championship.
Nowitzki’s final game in the NBA was not only about Basketball, but it was also an end of an era where the whole arena hosted the Numbers ’41.21.1’ which denoted as 41 – the Jersey Number, 21 – Total Season’s played in the NBA, 1 – The NBA Championship Won. He announced his retirement in an emotional postgame ceremony which basically had set a record of a player playing with the same franchise throughout the NBA career. In his speech, he quoted, ‘Left Germany to become a Texan.’
The NBA treated this season as a final one, but he never officially announced this as his last season, but the NBA put up special addition in the NBA All-Star game this season by putting up Dirk and Wade in the roster as felicitating them by framed jerseys at the end of All-Star game. He did not swap jerseys like D – Wade and never really discussed retirement openly and what are his post-retirement plans.
To conclude, Dirk played 21 seasons, had 0 drama throughout his NBA Career, sub-zero ego and 1 team. This Legend open the doors for overseas players to have an impact on the game and the Legendary History of Mr. Fadeaway is here to stay.
Dirk is certainly one of the best power forward ever played the game. Here take a look at the list of Best NBA power forwards of all time