Dirk Nowitzki's Arnold Schwarzenegger impression

Tom Pennington

Dirk Nowitzki was asked to do an impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He did and it was funny but it hints at our perception of other cultures.

Everybody knows that Dirk Nowitzki is from Germany. If you didn't know that, now you do. You're welcome. Since he hails from the Vaterland, he is often linked to plenty of German stereotypes, both good and bad.

How can we forget the time Dirk mentioned that he was a fan of David Hasselhoff's music? Hasselhoff cut-out heads dotted arenas after that. The Hoff is a star in Germany. Hell, he sang at the Berlin Wall as it fell wearing the best jacket of all time. That's a big deal.

Of course, one of the biggest stereotypes of Germans and German speakers is their accent. In a recent call-in to the Dan Patrick show, Nowitzki was asked to do an impression of another German speaker, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Governator is Austrian, not German, just to be clear. That's close enough, right?

The line is from Predator, by the way, and no, Dirk's impression isn't great.

There's a larger issue at work there, though. It's unfortunate that those from other cultures and countries are too often reduced to an unflattering and simplistic image. It is why Nowitzki was asked to do the impression in the first place.

All cultures and people are as varied and layered as those that we consider our own. Would we reduce ourselves to caricature or welcome being viewed as rubes? No. Patrick's comments were not meant to be vicious. Instead they are rooted in our own cultural biases which are often just taken for granted. They shouldn't be, though.

Unfortunately, the least we can do is to take it in stride, like Dirk did. What more can he do in that situation? It was meant as a joke, after all. Who doesn't have a Schwarzenegger impression? His voice is iconic. And honestly, at least they didn't ask Dirk to sing.

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