The private stress from last year is left behind. Dirk Nowitzki looks relaxed and loose - and currently lacks apparently only one thing to happiness: the target chased for years; a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in the North American professional basketball league, the NBA, the toughest league in the world. Where he as a German, enjoys a (so far) unparalleled special status. Before the Würzburger leaves in two weeks in his then already thirteenth NBA season with the Mavericks, he met with us for the traditional, summer-exclusive interview. Der nun auch schon 32-Jährige, frisch liiert in Texas, plauderte entspannt nicht nur über das Sportliche, sondern auch über seine private Entwicklung und das Älterwerden, das auch am Vorzeige-Athleten der Nation nicht vorüberzieht. The now already 32-year-old, fresh in a relationship in Texas, chatted relaxed, not only about the sport, but also about his private development and the aging that won't even pass the nation's flagship athlete.
Question: "Now it only needs Nowitzki", dubbed the Sport Bild 'recently in its report on the new, prominent german team, the FC Bayern. President Uli Hoeneß invested a lot in the basketball team to rise as quickly as possible from the Second to the First Bundesliga . Is it just lacking Nowitzki for that?
Dirk Nowitzki: What? That was what was written? You'll hear that sentiment often from Alba Berlin that it was a big dream (for them) if I would play there. But these are ultimately no more than gimmicky thoughts for a time in four or five years, of which I have no idea what the future brings - because everything is open.
The Bavarians would still be an interesting topic, because in soccer you are a big fan of FCB .
Nowitzki: Let's wait some time first, if by then it will even still be fun to play for me, there are still a few heavy steps missing before i would seriously think about doing something like that. Regardless of me, the Bavarians will surely establish themselves into a good role in the German basketball. The fact that they are good at professional sports, they have long since proved - and the money to be able to let something grow they have, too.
Your next goals are the Olympic participation in 2012 and finally winning the title with the Dallas Mavericks.
Nowitzki: Absolutely, yes.The Olympics 2008 in China, which I have repeatedly said, was, despite our defeats there, around and beside the basketball games such a great experience that I definitely want to enjoy it again. But for that our German team at Euro 2011 has pull through in Lithuania, which is hard enough. In any case, I plan to wear the national jersey again. And the championship? Yeaaah,yeaaah,yeaaah, hopefully we will manage that.
You have just signed for another four years this summer - in spite of skeptical voices that the Mavericks will never win a Championship.
Nowitzki: I thought about this long enough this summer. I am back for a long NBA season, the twelfth or how many'th actually. . . . .
. . . . . . the thirteenth.
Nowitzki: Do you researched that really well? Not that this is wrong now - could be, okay, i believe you, the thirteenth. I was over there for the negotiations, and the most important thing was, I would say the key point is that our owner Marc Cuban immediately came to me and said: 'Hey, Dirk, we both sit in the same boat. " The same boat, that was it. He wants to be champion, i want to be champion, he dreams of it, i dream of it. If I would've left, i would have thought, i give up, i did not make it. It would have seemed to me like running away.
But after twelve years in the same club it ain't running away anymore.
Nowitzki: Granted, there was a moment, if the Miami Heat would've had reported exactly at that time, 'they want to build a super team with me, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James', it would have been very tempting and almost a guarantee for the title. When they got Chris Bosh it was clear, the best options do i have and keep in Dallas, because all the other clubs are not further than us in the fight to the ring for the NBA Champ. Not Chicago, not New York, and neither the New Jersey Nets can guarantee me a better result and not to drop off again in April to end the season prematurely. And teams like the Lakers couldn't have gotten me for financial reason. But we'll somehow manage it, we've got four years left together. Why make a new beginning like twelve years ago in a different environment when I have experienced so much loyalty and I know what I have in Dallas ?
Because it is still curious, almost unique in professional sports, that a man like you only had two stations in his enormous career, Würzburg and Dallas.
Nowitzki: You're right though, I have to admit - and maybe that actually has something to do with my grounded
origin Upbringing. I am always happily back every summer in Würzburg.
You seem more relaxed than last year at the same time.
Nowitzki: What I have experienced that time in private, is something I never want to experience again. (Ed.: Nowitzki's fiancée Crystal Taylor proved to be a traitor, and landed in jail during the play-offs, straight out of his home). This was not easy to overcome initially, but eventually I managed it and marked it off.
Have you thereby become harder, tougher?
Nowitzki: I have been through so much, I had and have so much fun in life! It would've been the worst thing if my joy of life would've remained on the track permanently. But for a while it was it that way.
When you went to the NBA, you were very young, not even 20 years. Now you are already 32. What happened to you in all the time?
Nowitzki: I've matured, which what was more complicated than it - obviously - sounds now. I have been too alot on the Road earlier in my Life, i am still now, but i have other thoughts now. And i discover new sides of me. Recently, I was actually at the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth.
Could you repeat where you were, or have we heard that wrong?
Nowitzki: No, no, that's right. Parsifal - I even got he text before and read it. Heavy substance.
And you had no trouble sitting quietly for four hours with your height in your seat without constant back and forth stretching?
Nowitzki: I was up there in the (vip) box, because you have more leg freedom there, and there were two breaks in between, it worked, wasn't a problem. I'mma say, I had the chance to go -
- other Interested in that have to wait for many years in vain -
Nowitzki: - clearly, so I'm also happy there, it was an experience, that's all. But I don't have to go again next year.
When you were a newcomer in Dallas in 1999, playing at that time, your teammate AC Green was honored for his thousandth NBA Game.
Nowitzki: Even for the thousandth NBA game in a row, which nobody achieves nowadays anymore. He was the absolute Ironman.
Now youself are at the threshold for the thousandth NBA game. Would you have ever even thought about that possibility?
Nowitzki: No, no one can really imagine such things. But it all happened so fast, there was always something going on, always moving in there, every year: first the training camp in October, then the season starting in November with four or five games a week, the All-Star weekend in February and in spring the play-offs. Sometimes, you join the flight right after a Game, eat on the plane, go to bed in a Hotel in the next City, sleep a few hours and play again shortly thereafter.
Do you have the overview of what is happening where and how and when?
Nowitzki: Not so exactly (anymore). Only the very important matches do you still know after twelve summers, how they were, especially in the dramatic play-offs.
Didn't you sacrificed the best time of your life for basketball, your Youth?
Nowitzki: Hard question, huh, good question. How long is the youth? I was was until 19 at home, graduated with 18 from high school (Abitur), everything was normal, i was Lower Franconia B-youth-tennis champion. I really had a nice time, in hindsight though, everything is like children's carnival. Did i spent my youth spent in the NBA, sacrificed to the sport? But, yes, I did. But in return I can say I have always done what I liked most, sport. Basketball is my life, and I have nothing sacrificed with that. Madness was really just how fast it all went, that I have said, yes. Almost a Pity!
Previously, you were the child prodigy, now you soon, pardon me, the old sack.
Nowitzki: Exactly. I am one of the oldest in our team! We've got a young Frenchman, and when I see how nervous he jumps aroundt, just as i did at the beginning, I have to laugh at myself afterwards.
Fortunately, you have so far been spared from serious injury.
Nowitzki: Luckily, yes, I am also grateful for that. Mostly I had blessings in disguise (=Luck), at least so far, even at the story of the last year. The stupid thing at that time was that they had really been waiting at some magazines for such a moment, to say, now we have him, can't be that there are no skeletons in his closet. First they praise and thunder you up, then they beat you up and shower you. But i also became accustomed to that.
Then you will herewith receive the opportunity to summarize your whole life (so far) in a bold headline. What would that be?
Nowitzki: I would say: Went quite well, had great times.
Sounds, however, as if it was already over anyway.
Nowitzki: Okay, there must be an additional point. Went quite well. But there is still a lot coming.....
Once again, original link.