Look what i found... ...another Dirk Interview.
Translation © Mavsmoneyball
Basketball Superstar Dirk Nowitzki and his Dallas Mavericks are not one of the top favorites for the championship of the NBA, the best basketball league in the world. Still, the Forward holds on to his dream - a color copy of the champions trophy in his locker reminds the 32-year-old at every home game of the big goal. In this interview Dirk talks about why he came back, despite not having a fully healed knee, what has to improve for his team, and what's good about the FC Bayern (German Basketball Team).
Q: Mr. Nowitzki, we have heard that you hit it hard in a foreign sport this week?
Dirk: Right. We had a private party and at the pool table I've bumped my toe. That hurt. Pretty dopey of me, right?
Q: Playing pool? What was that for a play?
Dirk: (laughs) That was the Game Winner!
Q: How's the injured knee, which you had sprained in late December and that then forced you to a three-week break?
Dirk: Good! The most important thing right now is that I find the rhythm again and that the condition comes back. The legs are still a bit heavy, but that will get right again.
Q: Percentagewise, on which level are you currently?
Dirk: The knee is almost back at 100 percent, can't complain about that. My rhythm is almost at 90 percent.
Q: Was that a calculated risk, to come back perhaps one or two weeks too early after the injury?
Dirk: Yeah, sure. But I couldn't watch anymore. When I was on the outside, we played poorly, lost games, and then Caron Butler went down, who would have been a good substitute. On a win-streak, I might have waited longer. But we couldn't afford the break, I had to come back as quickly as possible. Even though the first games after that were a bit ugly.
Q: Are you not afraid that this decision will eventually backfire?
Dirk: No, our doctors said it can't get worse by playing. As long as I can play with the pain, it's not dangerous and okay.
Q: Do you consider taking off the All-Star game of the NBA on February 20th?
Dirk: Unfortunately, this is not possible. Whoever is nominated and not injured has to play, otherwise he gets suspended/banned. In addition, it was always an honor for me to represent the Mavericks. If i am selected by the coaches, i'll be in Los Angeles.
Q: Are you really sure you'll be selected?
Dirk: No. There are several good power forwards in our Western Conference. Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves for example. Or Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. He is one of the new, young stars who has almost every night a double-double, [ie double-digits in two categories].
Q: Would it be bad not to be there?
Dirk: I was nominated nine times in a row now, therefore the disappointment would be.... limited. I have just one big goal left in the NBA, and that's the championship.
Q: The playoffs are still a long way away, but: What would the Mavs have to reach for you to call it a successful season?
Dirk: Whether we get eliminated in the first round or lose in the finals - that makes no difference at the end. The title is the goal, everything else is a disappointment.
Q: What needs to improve in Dallas to achieve this goal?
Dirk: First, we must get healthy. Not only me, but also Peja Stojakovic - and Rodrigue Beaubois with his explosiveness. So far we lack a little movement in the offensive. If we have another player to get into the paint under the basket and finish, then we are in the top of things. This has recently improved again, some of us reached double digits in scoring. That gives confidence.
Q: The challenge now is to secure a good position for the playoffs. Who are the toughest competitors in the West?
Dirk: Only San Antonio is far away, all the other teams can be caught. Should be a thrilling second half of the season.
Q: At the NBA, there's the threat of a lockout next season because clubs and players' union so far can not agree on a new contract. Will that end well?
Dirk: There are still some months left, but right now it doesn't really look good. Around the All-Star game, some meetings have even been canceled. I've been through everything before, in my debut year in the NBA, 1998. First, they said there will be no games for several months. And then everything happened very quickly and we had to show up.
Q: Would you be interested in playing in Germany in the event of a lockout?
Dirk: I have now read these thoughts several times, but this whole story is still too far away [to decide that]. Also, I don't think it is allowed in the NBA, to suddenly play anywhere else.
Q: That means, Bayern-President Uli Hoeneß has not yet called?
Dirk: (laughs) No, he has not yet reported to me.
Q: What do you say to the Project Basketball at FC Bayern? It's currently raised with a lot of money and commitment as a big deal.
Dirk: Munich is a great city and offers the right environment. The money is right and basketball is accepted by the fans. The top game of the 2nd League against my former team Würzburg in mid-February has already sold 11,000 tickets. I think it's really good what's developing over there.
Q: Munich would be an option for a career-ending?
Dirk: When my contract expires at the Mavericks in almost four years, i'll be 36 years old. This is still so far away, there can happen so much till then. If basketball is still fun for me by then, maybe. We'll see.
Q: What's the outlook with the EM [European Championship] 2011 in Lithuania. Will you be there?
Dirk: I can't say anything about that yet. I was now out three weeks and can't turn right back and come the Mavericks with an EM-participation for Germany. I must first see how i get through the season, and how long we stay in the race. Ideally, we reach the playoffs and the finals in June. What's after that, we need to [wait and] see. Even Chris Kaman has long been injured, and I don't think the Clippers let him to the Championship if he has already missed almost the entire NBA season.
Q: Would Kaman's confirmation or decline influence your decision?
Dirk: We need to sit together in the summer with the German Basketball Federation and make the best decision for everyone involved.
Q: Are you actually going to the Super Bowl on Sunday? The big final of the National Football League is in Dallas this year.
Dirk: (laughs) I would probably get a ticket, here in my hometown. But I'm not sure if I go. We come back Saturday night from the roadgame in Charlotte and on Monday we have the next home game. So I do not know if I should
suffer enjoy the circus with more than 100,000 spectators. But maybe I change my mind short term, because that is certainly a great game: Green Bay Packers against Pittsburgh Steelers - that's must-see, even if only on TV.
Q: Who is your favorite in the Super Bowl?
Dirk: I would be happy for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, but I don't think they have a chance against the Steelers defense.
Original Interview published 02.02.2011 by Patrick Brandenburg and Jens Bistritschan on sport.t-online.de