Only the greats of the sport receive this honor! Entry into the Hall of Fame is the culmination of any career. With Dirk Nowitzki (44), a German basketball player is now facing this ultimate accolade for the first time. On Saturday at 5 p.m. German time, the players who will make it into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield in 2023 will be announced in Houston (USA). Nowitzki’s entry is considered safe. After all, the Würzburg player is not only the 2011 NBA champion, but also the sixth best scorer of all time in the North American professional league with 31,560 career points. Nowitzki will then be immortalized in the museum on 11./12. August at a formal ceremony.
Then the basketball player is in a row with the greatest of German sports such as Steffi Graf (53), Katarina Witt (57) and Michael Schumacher (54). But also with some surprising names that not everyone knows. SPORT BILD shows which Germans have entered the Halls of Fame in their sports.
The “Hall of Fame” and its museums are particularly popular in the USA. There is exactly one German in what is probably the most important hall for Americans: footballer Ernie Stautner († 80) was appointed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton (USA) in 1969. Born in Bavaria, he emigrated to the USA with his family as a child. There he played 173 games in 14 years in the NFL as a defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, of which his shirt number 70 is no longer assigned. After retiring, he even won the Super Bowl twice (1972 and 1978) as an assistant coach to the Dallas Cowboys. In 2020, the bronze bust that Stautner received when he entered the Hall of Fame was sold for 2,100 euros. Stautner died in the United States in 2006 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
For Nowitzki, it’s the next big honor: The Mavericks have already dedicated a statue to him in front of the American Airlines Center, next to which a street has been renamed “Nowitzki Way”. At the NBA club, no one will wear the Nowitzki number 41 anymore, and the same applies to the “14” in the German national team.
“Dirk helped with his big heart and commitment that the Mavericks stood out in the entire sports world,” says club owner Mark Cuban (64) to SPORT BILD. “His focus, dedication and willingness to work harder than anyone to improve makes him one of the greatest players of all time!”
Nowitzki changed basketball. As a 2.13 meter giant, he threw from the outside and was dangerous from everywhere. “He was one of the first ‘Big Men’ to play basketball without the rigid positional fixation,” says Cuban.
Nowitzki’s “Fadeaway” special throw, in which he leaps off one leg and shoots while falling backwards, has its own place in basketball history. “He’s unstoppable,” says Nowitzki’s champion teammate Jason Terry (45). “Like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s ‘Skyhook’ (ed.), Michael Jordan’s ‘Fadeaway’ or Allen Iverson’s ‘Crossover’ (changing hands while dribbling to cross the opponent; ed.). All great players have a special move that they use when it counts – and that you just can’t defend.”
Goose bumps gala in South America
Pele and Maradona honor Messi
Quelle: PressBox, CONMEBOL
After retiring in 2019, Nowitzki is currently an advisor to the Mavericks. But Cuban also believes he is capable of becoming a coach or sports director: “Dirk does everything with full commitment. He would fit into any role that he would properly devote himself to.” Therefore, the club boss would like to expand Nowitzki’s scope of duties. “He can just help and get involved in the way that suits him best.