Germans, what gives? Dirk Nowitzki carried the flag for your country in the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony! He’s a Top 20 all-time NBA player, the greatest international player ever to lace up, and one of the coolest dudes in all of sports. He's a Mavs icon and yet ... A live-from-Germany, just-in-time-for-Oktoberfest fact-or-fiction look at Germany's love - or absence of love - for The UberMan.
Editors note: DB.com contributor Glenn Yoder wrote one of the most memorable and popular Mavs stories in the history of this website, "Oh My God, They're Going To Win!'' . Here, we reprint with permission a portion of his "(Semi-Drunken) Truth-Seeking at Germany's Oktoberfest: Dispelling Myths" ...
Fact Or Fiction: Germans Don't Care About Mavs Icon Dirk Nowitzki
This one is personal. I grew up in Dallas, remain a massive Dallas Mavericks fan, and until the team won an NBA title in 2011, I felt like Dirk was the most disrespected, underappreciated (outside of Dallas) superstar in the league.
We love our 7-foot German.
After he whipped LeBron James and the heavily-favored Miami Heat with seemingly all of America on The Mavs’ side (this was LeBron’s first year after spurning his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and he was truly hated, as you likely recall), I noticed a change in the national perception of Dirk: He was respected for the greatness that had been obvious to Dallas fans for years.
Unfortunately, that perception seems to have not carried across the Atlantic to Dirk’s home country.
I asked a guy who owned a sports apparel shop in Munich why no one there loves Dirk like I do and instead, he literally gave me a 20-minute speech about Pats offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (in fairness, he knew that I live in Boston, he loves American football, and he was very proud that a German plays for a team called the “New England Patriots”).
When I asked a Berlin waitress if she knew who Dirk was, she made a basketball dribbling motion, smirked and said, “We only care about football,” meaning soccer.
A guy in Munich told me, “We know him more [from] commercials.”
A bartender said that if I was looking for Dirk fans in Germany to “go to Würzburg,” Nowitzki’s hometown.
At a beer hall in Salzburg, Austria, I randomly ran into a group of cowboy hat-wearing dudes from Fort Worth who told me they had encountered the same regional disregard for Dirk.
Germans, what gives? This man carried the flag for your country in the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony! He’s a Top 20 all-time NBA player, the greatest international player ever to lace up, and one of the coolest dudes in all of sports. I’d love to have a liter or five with him. As I said to one seemingly anti-Dirk German citizen, “Hey, we’ll take him if you don’t want him.” His response? “Good. Somebody has to.”
Your loss, Germany.
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