1-on-1 with Dirk Nowitzki: Mavs star talks retirement, Luka, Mavs

While Nowitzki said he enjoyed traveling and spending time with family in his first year of retirement, he plans to be around the Mavs moving forward.

DALLAS — As Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki continues to explore what comes next in his retirement, he is engaging even more with the Mavericks organization and the city of Dallas.

On Sundays, Nowitzki is hosting Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis ClassicIncluding Mavs superstar Luka Doncic, actor Ben Stiller and tennis legends Andy Roddick, Mardi Fish and John Isner.

“I’m a big tennis fan,” Nowitzki said. “Tennis was my first sport. With the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation, we wanted to turn our own event into something we love.”

The tournament will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with tickets for $41 and kids three more free. Click here to purchase tickets.

Proceeds benefit the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation, which gives grants annually to organizations focused on children’s well-being, health, and education. The former Mavs forward founded the foundation in 2001.

“I’m not a big golfer, so I wanted to do something that I love to do,” Nowitzki said. “We came up with this Tennis Celebrity Classic and unfortunately, we couldn’t do it in the last few years because of the pandemic. But we are back for the fifth year and we are really looking forward to it. This Sunday at SMU It’s going to be a fun weekend.”

Nowitzki said he is delighted to have Doncic back and play in the tournament.

“We like to have him,” Nowitzki said. “Of course, he’s the star here. People love him. I wouldn’t say he’s the best tennis player. He’s a big tennis fan. His skills are fine. I always tell him, ‘You just have to stick to basketball.’ But we are very happy and grateful that he comes and supports. He was at EuroBasket in Europe. And supporting him that weekend means a lot to us. We certainly appreciate his playing. We do. “

Nowitzki made his NBA debut on February 5, 1999. Another professional who took the stage around this time period is Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer, who played his first Grand Slam tournament on May 25, 1999, at the French Open.

Federer recently announced that he would retire from professional tennis after a tournament in London.

“I met Roger a few times,” Nowitzki said. “Once at the Olympics in 08. And a few more times at Wimbledon. Of course, I’m a huge, huge fan. Just talking to him, picking up his mind. What did he do off the court as well. As on the court But to me, he’s definitely one of the goats of the game.”

“Losing Serena and Roger within just a few weeks is very sad and emotional for me, as a tennis fan who has followed the sport for the past 40 years. They will certainly leave a huge hole to fill.” But they both have great personalities. They did really well off the court.”

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Nowitzki was recently honored this September 2022 at EuroBasket 2022, where his international number 14 jersey was retired. It is the first time in the 73-year history of the German Basketball Federation (DBB) that they have retired a jersey number.

“It was great,” Nowitzki said. “It was emotional. I had friends from growing up there. I had family. My kids were there. My parents were able to re-watch it. There have been so many unforgettable moments, honestly these last three years down the road.” Started with the naming of here and then jersey retirement and all kinds of other awards. It’s been an incredible journey here for the last three years. I’m just soaking it up and trying to enjoy the moment. So proud that my family is what it is all to see.”

Last season, the Mavs proved to their fans and to themselves that they could contend with the best of the league. The entire league took notice of what he did in Game 7 against the Phoenix Suns—the NBA’s only 60-winning team this year.

The season ultimately ended in defeat as the Golden State Warriors crashed out of the playoffs after a 120–110 defeat in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.

“You always think ahead,” Nowitzki said. “You want to get better off season. You want to take the next step. If you’re so far away and you’re in the top 4, sometimes it’s hard to take the next step. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next How’s the season going?

Nowitzki said he believes the front office is being built around Doncic and has the potential for the team to build on last season’s success.

“We have coaches and everything,” Nowitzki said. “He showed it last year. You know, we’ll just have to wait and see how the season goes. I think it’s definitely tough to lose Brunson. He’s one of the best of what we’ve been through over the years.” That was a huge part. But hopefully by adding Timmy Hardaway back into the mix and a few others, we can make up for that.”

In June 2021, the Mavs announced that Nowitzki would rejoin the team as a special advisor. According to a Mavs press release, the team said they would be talked to to help the front office with recruiting both the general manager and head coach. He will also consult on other front-office decisions.

Nowitzki said that after focusing on family, travel and her children during the first few years of retirement, she is ready to engage more with the team going forward.

“Of course, I bleed blue,” Nowitzki said. “I’ve been with the Mavs, what, ’98? They’re close to my heart. And I’ve always thought I’m going to enjoy retirement a little bit later. I want to help out. The playoff run was probably Most of all I’ve been around. I’ve watched almost every game. It was such a blast to watch these guys work so hard and make it to the top 4. It was an incredible journey. Hopefully, here in the near future, I’ll have a lot more and will really try to help the organization even more.”

Nowitzki also said that he has become close with Doncic over the years, seeing a lot in the Slovenian superstar who reminds him of himself during his younger years.

“He’s just like me 20 years ago,” Nowitzki said. “When you’re not sure and English isn’t your first language, I think you’re always a little shy about cameras. I didn’t want to say anything wrong. I was exactly like that. Once the camera went off . , this kid is hilarious. He busts everyone. He’s a clown. He loves to have fun with his peers and the people around him that he is comfortable with. So, I guess my Together, he feels quite comfortable. Whatever he says and we usually enjoy each other’s company.”

“He knows anytime he needs anything, I’m happy to help him. Whether it’s on or off the court, he knows I’m always in his corner. He’s such a good kid. His He has a big heart and wants to do good, so if I can do anything for him, I will be happy to do it.”

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