09 April 2019, US, Dallas: Basketball: NBA; Main Round; 81st Matchday; Dallas Mavericks - Phoenix Suns at Amercian Airlines Center. Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki. Photo: Philipp Hülsmann [Photo via Newscom]

Sports & Leisure

My Long Goodbye to Dirk Nowitzki

It took 13,000 words, but that's not nearly enough.

It is not entirely correct to say that I worked on my oral history of Dirk Nowitzki’s career for 10 years. Yes, the first interviews I conducted for it occurred in the early fall of 2009, and, yes, the last one happened in July of this year. But I wasn’t working on it continuously that entire time. It was a few months of interviews and bit of conspiracy-wall-making separated by a decade. We published the first half in December 2009, and now it is complete.

On the other hand, you could say I started working on this ridiculously long tribute sometime around 2000 or 2001 — it took me a minute to fully commit to Dirk and to believe in the Mavericks again, after being repeatedly kicked in the jeans during almost the entirety of the 1990s — and didn’t stop until a few months after he retired. And finishing it made me come to terms with the fact that he really wasn’t going to play for the Mavericks any longer. Only when I spoke to Dirk on the phone a few hours before he left for Europe with his family for the rest of the summer did I have to admit that it was all actually over.

There probably won’t be a third installment, but I get the feeling there could be a reason for one. No, Dirk won’t be coming back to the Mavericks and I’m not even sure when he will be coming back to basketball. He’s enjoying the freedom. But in talking to his friends and colleagues, I got the impression that, while Dirk’s athletic career is over, he and his wife Jessica are just getting started with the foundation they run, which is headquartered in Dallas. I can see the impact of what they are doing, and what they plan to do, being worth a 10-year retrospective in 2029.

See you then. But for now, you can read the 2019 version from the August issue. It’s online today.

Newsletter

Get a weekly recap in your inbox every Sunday of our best stories from the week plus a primer for the days ahead.

Find It

Search our directories for...

Restaurants

Restaurants

Bars

Bars

Events

Events

Attractions

Attractions

View All

View All

Comments