The NBA has been largely dominated by American players over the years but a few foreign imports have managed to make their mark in the big league. One person who stands out in this regard is Dirk Nowitzki. The German player joined the NBA in 1998 and has gone on to establish himself as one of the best power forwards in the history of the league. In a glorious career spanning 21 years, Nowitzki has won several titles, including NBA Championships. He has also set, as well as broken several records. As the German star calls time on an illustrious career, let us take a look at his awesome achievements, as well as his life off the courts.
His Early Years in Germany and Journey to the NBA
Dirk Nowitzki was born on the 19th of June 1978 in Würzburg, West Germany. He hails from a family of athletes and unsurprisingly dabbled into sports at an early age. His energy was initially focused on handball and tennis but he soon dumped both after some of his peers ridiculed him as a result of his enormous height. This rejection turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Nowitzki turned his sights to basketball. He joined his local club, DJK Würzburg, and honed his skills under the supervision of ex-German international basketballer Holger Geschwindner. He was subsequently promoted to the main team and made his professional debut in 1994.
Dirk Nowitzki spent four years in Germany (1994-1998) during which he helped his team gain promotion to the upper league. He subsequently participated in the 1998 Nike Hoops Summit and impressed the scouts with his stats. These exploits attracted the attention of many European and NBA sides but Nowitzki decided to go for the biggest basketball stage in the world. He declared for the 1998 NBA Draft and was picked, 9th overall, by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks then immediately traded him to Dallas Mavericks where he would spend the entirety of his NBA career.
The Highpoints of his Professional Career
The following are some of Dirk Nowitzki’s incredible haul of achievements in the NBA. He won the NBA Championships in 2011 and was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player that same year. The German star also accumulated league MVP honours (1x), NBA All-Star (14x), All-NBA first team (4x), All-NBA second team (5x), and All-NBA third team (3x). Dirk Nowitzki is currently ranked 6th in all-time scoring, 7th in all-time defensive rebounds and 2nd in all-time NBA finals free throw percentage. He has the third all-time longest streak for consecutive free throws with a total of 82 consecutive free throws in the regular season. He is also the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history.
Nowitzki has at least 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,000 steals, and 1,000 blocks, making him one of the only 3 players in the history of NBA with this achievement. The power forward is also a Dallas Mavericks living legend. He holds the record for the highest number of games, points, rebounds, three-point field goals and free throws in the history of the franchise. When it comes to the national stage, Nowitzki also performed incredibly well for his fatherland. He led the German national team to gold at the 2001 EuroBasket, bronze at the 2002 FIBA World Championship, and silver at the 2005 EuroBasket. Additionally, the Würzburg native is the leading scorer in the history of the German national basketball (3045) and the second-leading scorer in the history of EuroBasket (1052 points).
His Interracial Marriage
The Mavericks legend has established blissful and enviable family life with his wife, Jessica Olsson, a Swedish national who hails from a family of five. Her father is Swedish while her mother is Kenyan. She also has two younger brothers namely Marcus and Martin who are both professional footballers. They have variously played for several English sides, including Derby County, Blackburn Rovers, Norwich City, and Swansea City. The twins have also represented the Swedish national team. With regard to her occupation, Olsson is a professional art dealer. She has worked at several art galleries and is now the associate director at the Goss-Michael Foundation, a non-profit art gallery located in Dallas, Texas.
So, how did Nowitzki meet his wife? Well, legend has it that the lovebirds first met at a charity event in Dallas in February 2010. They subsequently embarked on a date and realized that they shared similar interests in art, sports, family, and kids. Nowitzki was also bowled over by Olsson’s beauty and they commenced a relationship. The couple dated for nearly two years during which they got engaged. They later tied the knot in the year 2012. Their nuptials was a multi-layered affair as they conducted traditional wedding ceremonies in both Kenya and Germany. Nowitzki and Olsson also held a white wedding in the Caribbean before formalizing their union in a ceremony performed by a judge in Dallas on the 20th of July 2012.
Raising Multicultural Children
Since tying the knot, Nowitzki and his wife have enjoyed a stable union. They have both supported each other’s careers. They also work together on the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation, a non-profit that promotes children’s wellbeing, health, and education. Nowitzki and his wife have also welcomed three kids namely daughter, Malaika (b. July 2013) and sons, Max (b. March 2015) and Morris (b. November 2016). The couple are raising their kids to be trilingual – Swedish, German and English. They are also raising them in a multicultural environment; they often take them to visit Kenya and Germany so that they would be in touch with their heritage.
Nowitzki and his wife have revealed that they do these in the hopes that their kids would be enlightened and exposed. Meanwhile, The Nowitzkis presently make their home in an 11,000 square feet mansion located in Preston Hollow Neighbourhood, Dallas. Their illustrious neighbors include the likes of Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, former American president, George W. Bush and golf star, Jordan Spieth.