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Dirk Nowitzki Retires: A Fellow German Reflects on Legend’s Career

Dirk+taking+one+of+his+countless%2C+unstoppable++fade+away+shots.
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Dirk Nowitzki Retires: A Fellow German Reflects on Legend’s Career

Dirk taking one of his countless, unstoppable  fade away shots.

Dirk taking one of his countless, unstoppable fade away shots.

Keith Allison

Dirk taking one of his countless, unstoppable fade away shots.

Keith Allison

Keith Allison

Dirk taking one of his countless, unstoppable fade away shots.

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In the late evening of the 9th of April, Dirk Nowitzki played his last home game for the Dallas Mavericks. As a fellow German, I was watching the game with tears in the eyes. Through those tears, I was able to watch Nowitzki score 30 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in his last game ever in the best league of the world.

Over 20 years he won every award a NBA player could possibly win. With him, an era of legends is finished. His whole game changed the NBA. I would describe Nowitzki in three words: unstoppable, game changing, sympathetic.

Because of Dirk, big men began to shoot three pointers. He perfected his signature move: the famous fade away shot. Other players take fade away shots but Dirk made it a science.

Dirk is one of the least hated and loyal players in the modern NBA. With the Mavs, he went through hard times. He even gave money back to his team so they could get better players to support him. There was so much hype, hate and skill around him, but he kept focused to win games. He was always about winning.

I will never forget his reaction in 2011 as he won the NBA championship against the Miami Heat. He did not celebrate or anything. He just turned around and ran into the lockers. There, you could find him sitting with his jersey pulled over his head, like he just lost 10 games in a row. This reaction is unique, like he always was.

I first heard about Dirk Nowitzki in 2014, as I began to play basketball in my home country of Germany. For a long time, I tried to be like him, on and off the court. My father first told me about him and he said that Nowitzki should be an idol for everybody, because what he did off the court to help so many people in multiple organizations. Every sportsman in the world should strive to be like him. What he did to support the German government and the BBL, to give over 500,000 kids the opportunity to play Basketball is unbelievable. Without him, German Basketball would not be what it is today. He opened the doors for other German talents to go and play in the NBA or in the NCAA.

In 1998, as a tall, blonde and skinny German arrived at the airport in Dallas, nobody could have imagined what he would do in the league. In Germany, he is considered one of the greatest sportsmen and national heroes. The German chancellor Merkel praised Dirk after winning the NBA title, lauding him for his, “industriousness, perseverance and outstanding performance.”

If asked, most Germans would name Dirk Nowitzki as the most famous German-born sportsman. For me, personally, he will always be an idol and a legend.

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