What does Dirk Nowitzki actually do?

Dirk Nowitzki’s basketball career was one of superlatives. Since the end of 2019, “Dunking Deutschman” has been very relaxed.

It was the second honor of this kind that he had received. However, routine did not materialize. The moment when the Germany jersey with the number 14 was pulled under the roof of the Lanxess Arena in Cologne before the first game of the European Basketball Championship in September 2022 was too emotional, too moving. Pyro, flying sparks, grown men in tank tops close to tears. And down on the floor stood the man of the evening and couldn’t help but smile with satisfaction: Dirk Nowitzki. Germany’s greatest basketball player ever. One of the key innovators of the orange ball game.

Seven years after his last game for the DBB selection, his jersey was “retired”. No German national player will ever play with the 14 on his back again. That’s how they did it at the beginning of the year with his 41 at the Dallas Mavericks. Of course with more pomp, more speeches, more videos, American. However, with the same result: no one should dare in the future to disturb Nowitzki’s legacy by being satisfied with average with his number on his back.

Dirk Nowitzki played for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA from 1998 to 2019. (Source: imago-images-pictures)

And Nowitzki? He seemed distracted. Thanked his former NBA teammates, who had come especially, his mentor Holger Geschwinder, his wife Jessica and their three children. “For me, it was an unforgettable journey with you. And now: Let’s go, Germany!” He ended his short speech. Because that’s what always characterized the athlete Nowitzki: for him, the game was always in the foreground.

Stand is the exactly correct tense chosen. Shortly after the end of his career in 2019, the 44-year-old said in an interview with “Spiegel”: “I’m over basketball.”

So what does the “dunking Deutschman” do when he’s no longer chasing the “swish” sound of the ball falling through the basket? What does “Dirkules” do when he’s not working on the perfect throw day after day in musty sports halls in Lower Franconia? The answer seems to be: the driven person has become a hedonist, someone who lets himself go in the best sense of the word.

Nowitzki gained eight kilos after the end of his career

“When I go out in the evening and everyone orders dessert and wine, I’ve said no for the past 20 years. That’s currently difficult,” said Nowitzki in spring 2022 at a media event, he had gained eight kilos since the end of his career. A weight that he lost again through cycling and weight training as well as one or two rounds of tennis. However, he no longer picks up a basketball.

However, he has not completely renounced basketball, as it sounded in the “Spiegel” conversation. He accompanied the European Championships in Cologne and Berlin intensively as a tournament ambassador, and also acted as an expert for the broadcaster RTL in the quarter- and semi-finals of the German selection.

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Solemn jersey ceremony in Cologne’s Lanxess Arena: No German national basketball player will ever wear the number 14 shirt again. (Source: IMAGO/Anke Waelischmiller/SVEN SIMON)

The connection to his team, the Dallas Mavericks, for which he was active in the NBA for 21 years, is still intact. Since the summer of 2021, he has been advising Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on personnel decisions in the role of “Special Advisor”. However, it is important for Nowitzki to stay in the second row.

“He was a guest in a few games in the hall and if we have the opportunity, we try to exchange ideas with him,” revealed Mavericks professional Maxi Kleber 2020 in the t-online interview. But the German NBA star also knows that Nowitzki’s focus is different: “His priority at the moment is simply to spend as much time as possible with his family.”



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