Dirk Nowitzki is a German basketball player who is often regarded as one of the most talented players to emerge from Europe. He was born into an athletic family, and his unusual height made him choose basketball among other sports. He naturally flourished in the game. He joined ‘DJK Würzburg’ when he was just 16 and was later traded to the ‘Dallas Mavericks’ in the ‘National Basketball Association (NBA) draft.’ His association with the ‘Mavericks’ continues to remain strong even today. He holds the record of appearing for the most number of seasons (21) with the same club. In his career, he has won several ‘Most Valuable Player’ (MVP) awards. He became the first European to start in an ‘All-Star’ game. At the end of the season in 2018, he ranked sixth on the ‘NBA’ leading scorers list, with over 31,000 points. His signature jump shot has been spoken of highly by many other basketball players.
Nowitzki’s popularity and consistency have earned him many awards, including the prestigious ‘Naismith Legacy Award’ in 2012. He also played regularly for his national team and helped Germany win the bronze medal in the 2002 ‘FIBA World Championship.’ Nowitzki’s inspiring career has been the subject of a book and a documentary that focused on his steady rise as a foreigner in the American basketball world. He remains one of the greatest basketball players currently active.
Nowitzki’s career began with a bumpy start, as he had to juggle sports and studies. In his first season of the ‘Second Bundesliga’ in 1994, he scored poorly and was often benched. In the next season, in 1995, he scored well regularly and made a name for himself. In 1996, he helped his team reach the second spot in the league. In the 1997–1998 season, he ended as the lead scorer and was named the ‘German Basketballer of the Year’ by German magazine ‘Basket.’ His squad, ‘DJK,’ too, finished at the top spot. He gained international recognition after participating in the ‘Nike Hoop Heroes Tour’ against ‘NBA’ stars. After an impressive performance, he was chosen to play in the ‘Nike Hoop Summit.’ He outplayed many established ‘NBA’ stars. He was eventually selected by the ‘Mavericks.’
His initial matches for the ‘NBA’ turned out to be disappointing, as Nowitzki was often heckled and made fun of. Despite playing well, he scored poorly and even contemplated returning to Germany. However, he persisted and continued with the ‘Dallas Mavericks.’ In 2000, the ‘Dallas Mavericks’ were taken over by Mark Cuban, who restructured the team in a positive way. Consequently, the team’s and Nowitzki’s performance improved, and he averaged 17.5 points. He earned a number of honors and was the runner-up for the ‘NBA Most Improved Player Award.’ He became the first member of his team to be named to the ‘All-NBA’ squad. His performances with the ‘Mavericks’ boosted the team’s ranking. In the next season, he signed a $90-million contract extension, which made him one of the highest-paid German athletes. He was also voted the ‘European Basketballer of the Year’ by ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport.’ In the 2002 season, Nowitzki’s averages became higher and that helped the team rank higher. His performances were crucial to his team’s wins. His points, despite a change in position, continued to help the ‘Mavericks.’ In the 2004–2005 season, he averaged 26.1 points, a career-high score. Subsequently, he was named to the ‘All-NBA First Team.’ He improved his skills in the upcoming seasons. In the 2006 season, Nowitzki’s averages increased dramatically, and he was named the ‘MVP’ of the league. He helped his team enter the ‘NBA Playoffs.’ However, the team did not progress much. The ‘Mavericks’ fared poorly in the next couple of seasons, too, despite his successful performance.
Dirk Nowitzki played 21 seasons for the Mavericks. He averaged 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 1,522 regular-season games. He was selected to play in 14 All-Star games. He won 1 MVP award, 1 Finals MVP award and 1 NBA championship.
Played four years for DJK Wurzburg in the German pro league.
Served a mandatory stint in the German army in 1997-98.
Was the ninth pick of the 1998 NBA Draft, selected by Milwaukee, but immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
Was the MVP for the 2002 FIBA World Championships, with Germany winning the bronze medal.
Has led the Mavericks to 11 straight playoff appearances and has made the NBA All-Star team 10 straight times.
Became the first European born NBA MVP in 2006.
Is the Mavericks all-time leader in points, rebounds, 3-pointers made and free throws.
Plays saxophone and guitar
NBA Champion (2011)
NBA Finals MVP (2011)
NBA Most Valuable Player (2007)
14× NBA All-Star (2002–2012, 2014, 2015, 2019)
4× All-NBA First Team (2005–2007, 2009)
5× All-NBA Second Team (2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011)
3× All-NBA Third Team (2001, 2004, 2012)
50–40–90 club (2007)
NBA Three-Point Shootout champion (2006)
NBA Teammate of the Year (2017)
BBL Most Valuable Player (1999)
BBL Top Scorer (1999)
FIBA World Championship MVP (2002)
FIBA EuroBasket MVP (2005)
3× FIBA EuroBasket Top Scorer (2001, 2005, 2007)
6× Euroscar Player of the Year (2002–2006, 2011)
2× FIBA Europe Men's Player of the Year (2005, 2011)
11× All-Europeans First Team (2003–2011, 2013, 2014)
9× All-Europeans Power Forward of the Year (2005–2011, 2013, 2014)
Mister Europa Player of the Year (2005)
Silbernes Lorbeerblatt (2011)
German Sports Personality of the Year (2011)
Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award (2020)