Nowtizki playing for the Mavericks.
|No. 41 - Dallas Mavericks|
|Date of birth|| June 19, 1978|
|Listed height||7 ft 0 in|
|Listed weight||245 lbs|
|NBA Draft||1998; Round: 1 / Pick: 9th|
|Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Profile at NBA.com|
Dirk Werner Nowitzki (pronounced as DURK No-VIT-skee) (born June 19, 1978) is a German professional basketball player at Power forward for the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA. An alumnus of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Gymnasium Grammar School and DJK Würzburg basketball club, Nowitzki was drafted 9th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1998 NBA Draft, and was immediately traded to the Mavericks, where he has played ever since. Standing at 7'0 ft. tall, Nowitzki plays the power forward position, but is also capable of playing other frontcourt positions like center or small forward.
Nowitzki is an 8-time NBA All-Star, a 9-time member of the All-NBA Teams, and is the first European player in NBA history to receive the Most Valuable Player award. He is the first Maverick ever to get selected to an All-NBA Team, and is the all-time record holder of the team in several categories. He led the German national basketball team to a bronze medal in the 2002 FIBA World Championship, the silver medal in EuroBasket 2005, and was the leading scorer and MVP in both tournaments. Regarded as one of the best European players in basketball history, Nowitzki was named the Euroscar European Basketball Player of the Year by the Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport for 5 years in a row, the Mister Europa European Player of the Year by the Italian sports magazine Superbasket in 2005, and the FIBA Europe Basketball Player of the Year the same year.
Born in Würzburg, Germany, Dirk Werner Nowitzki comes from an athletic family: his mother Helga was a professional basketball player and his father Jörg-Werner was a handball player who represented Germany at the highest international level. His older sister Silke, a local champion in track and field, also became a basketball player and now works for the NBA in International TV. Dirk was a very tall child; most of the time he stood above his peers by a foot or more. He initially played handball and tennis, but soon grew tired of being called a "freak" for his height and eventually turned to basketball. After joining the local DJK Würzburg, the 15-year-old attracted the attention of former German international basketball player Holger Geschwindner, who spotted his talent immediately and offered to coach him individually two to three times per week. After getting both the approval of Nowitzki and his parents, Geschwindner put his pupil through an unorthodox training scheme: he emphasized shooting and passing exercises, and shunned weight training and tactical drills, because he felt it was "unnecessary friction". Furthermore, Geschwindner encouraged Nowitzki to play a musical instrument and read literature to make him a more complete personality.
After a year, the coach was so impressed that he said to his pupil: "You must now decide whether you want to play against the best in the world or just stay a local hero in Germany. If you choose latter, we will stop training immediately, because nobody can prevent that anymore. But if you want to play against the best, we have to train on a daily basis." After pondering for two days, Nowitzki decided on the former. Geschwindner let him train seven days a week with DJK Würzburg players and future German internationals Robert Garrett, Marvin Willoughby and Demond Greene, and in the summer of 1994, the 16-year-old Nowitzki made the DJK squad.
DJK Würzburg (1994–98)
When Nowitzki joined the team, DJK played in the Second Bundesliga, South Division. His first trainer was Pit Stahl, who played the tall teenager as an outside-scoring forward, rather than an inside-scoring center to utilize his shooting skills. In the 1994-95 Bundesliga 2nd Division season, ambitious DJK finished as a disappointing sixth of 12 teams; the rookie Nowitzki was often benched and struggled with bad school grades, which forced him to study rather than work on his game. In the following 1995-96 Bundesliga 2nd Division season, Nowitzki established himself as a starter next to Finnish star forward Martti Kuisma and soon became a regular double-digit scorer: after German national basketball coach Dirk Bauermann saw him score 24 points in a DJK game, he stated that "Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest German basketball talent of the last 10, maybe 15 years". DJK finished second in the South Division, but could not earn promotion after losing 86–62 in the deciding match versus BG Ludwigsburg: in that game, Nowitzki scored only eight points.
In the 1996-97 Bundesliga 2nd Division season, the team's top scorer Kuisma left the team, and Holger Geschwindner replaced Pit Stahl as head coach. Filling Kuisma's void, Nowitzki averaged 19.4 points per game and led DJK again to second place after the regular season, but could not help his team gain promotion. In the following 1997-98 Bundesliga 2nd Division season, Nowitzki finished his "Abitur" (German A-levels), but had to do his compulsory military service in the Bundeswehr (German Military) which lasted from September 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998; Nowitzki described this period as "a tough time at first, we had no privileges and had to participate in all the drills… later [after finishing the tough "Grundausbildung", the most intensive initial part of the service] it was much more relaxed". Concerning basketball, the 19-year old, who had grown to 6'11 tall, forward flourished further, leading DJK to a 36:4 point total (in Germany, a victory gives 2:0 points and a loss 0:2) and ending as leading scorer with 28.2 points per game. In the promotion playoffs, DJK finally broke its bane, finishing at first place with 14:2 points and earning promotion; Nowitzki scored 26 points in the deciding 95–88 win against Freiburg and was voted "German Basketballer of the Year" by the German BASKET magazine.
Abroad, Nowitzki's progress did not go unnoticed. In 1996, FC Barcelona Bàsquet wanted to sign him, but Nowitzki refused to move before finishing his German A-levels. A year later, the teenager participated in the Nike "Hoop Heroes Tour", where he played against NBA stars like Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen. In a 30-minute show match, Nowitzki outplayed Barkley and even slam dunked on him, causing the latter to exclaim: "The boy is a genius. If he wants to enter the NBA, he can call me." On March 29, 1998, Nowitzki was chosen to play in the Nike Hoop Summit, one of the premier talent watches in U.S. men's basketball. In a match between the U.S. talents and the international talents, Nowitzki scored 33 points on 6-of-12 shooting, 14 rebounds and 3 steals for the internationals and outplayed future US NBA stars Rashard Lewis and Al Harrington. He impressed with an array of quickness, ball handling, and shooting range, and from that moment on a multitude of European and NBA clubs wanted to recruit him.
Main Page: Dirk Nowitzki's NBA Career
Nowitzki has been playing for the German National Basketball Team since the 1999 FIBA EuroBasket. In his debut tournament, the 21-year old rookie established himself as the main German scorer, but could not prevent Germany from finishing just seventh and failed to qualify for the 2000 Olympic Games. In the 2001 FIBA EuroBasket, Nowitzki was top scorer with 28.7 points per game, and narrowly lost the MVP vote to Serbian player Peja Stojaković. Germany reached the semi-finals and were close to beating host nation Turkey, but down by three, Hedo Turkoglu hit a three-point buzzer beater, and the Turks eventually won in overtime. Germany then lost 90–99 against Spain, and did not win a medal. However, with averages of 28.7 points and 9.1 rebounds, Nowitzki led the tournament in both statistics, and was voted to the All-Star team. Back home, the German basketball team attracted up to 3.7 million television viewers, a record in German basketball history.
Nowitzki finally earned his first medal when he led Germany to a bronze medal in the 2002 FIBA World Championship. In the quarter-finals against the Pau Gasol-led Spain, Spain led 52–46 after three quarters, but then Nowitzki scored 10 points in the last quarter and led Germany to a 70–62 win. In the semi-finals, his team played against the Argentinian squad of 2000 Olympic Games MVP Manu Ginóbili, but despite leading 74–69 four minutes from the end and despite Argentina losing Ginobili to a foot injury, the South Americans won 86–80. However, the Germans won 117–94 against New Zealand in the consolation finals and won bronze, and tournament top scorer Nowitzki (24.0 ppg) was elected MVP. In Germany, now over four million television viewers followed the games.
The 2003 FIBA EuroBasket proved to be a major disappointment for Nowitzki and his German squad. In a preparation game, he suffered a foot injury after a collision with French player Florent Pietrus; as a result, Nowitzki played inconsistently and was also often target of hard fouls. In the decisive second round match against Italy (only the winner was allowed to play the medal round), Germany lost 86–84, finished ninth and did not qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games. Nowitzki scored 22.5 points per game (third overall), but in general seemed to lack focus and dominance due to his injury.
In the 2005 FIBA EuroBasket, Nowitzki came back strong. He surprisingly led a depleted German squad into the Finals, beating title favorites Slovenia in the quarter-finals and Spain in the semi-finals on the way. Eurobasket pundits praised Nowitzki in both matches: against Slovenia (76–62), the forward scored a game high 22 points and commented: "The Slovenians underestimated us. They said we were the team they wanted and that was wrong, you shouldn't do that in the quarter-finals." Against Spain (74–73), Nowitzki scored a game-high 27 points and scored the decisive basket: down by one and with only a few seconds to go, he drove on Spanish forward Jorge Garbajosa, and hit a baseline jump shot over Garbajosa's outstretched arms with 3.9 seconds to go. The German later commented: "It was indescribable. Garbajosa kind of pushed me towards the baseline so I just went with it." Despite losing the Finals 78–62 to the Greeks, Nowitzki was the tournament's leading scorer (26.7 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (10.8 rpg) and shot blocker (1.8 bpg), and was voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament. In the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Nowitzki led the German team to an eighth place and commented: "It's tough luck. But overall, finishing eighth in the world is not bad."
In the 2007 FIBA EuroBasket, in which the top three teams automatically qualified for the 2008 Olympics, Nowitzki led Germany to a fifth place. He was the leading scorer with 24.0 points per game. The fifth place meant that Germany fell short of direct qualification, but was allowed to participate in the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Nowitzki led Germany into a decisive match against Puerto Rico for the last remaining slot. In that crucial match, he scored a game-high 32 points and was vital for the 96–82 win which sent the German basketball team to their first Olympics since the 1992 Summer Olympics. Nowitzki was chosen to be the flag bearer for the German Olympic Team at the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Olympics.
Nowitzki is a versatile frontcourt player who mostly plays the power forward position, but has also played center, small forward and point forward throughout his career. With career averages of over 20 points and nearly 9 rebounds, he is a constant double-double threat. Nowitzki is considered one of the best shooters in the game, hitting over 87% of his free throws, connecting on almost 50% of his field goal attempts and on almost 40% of his three-point shots, and is also winner of the 2006 NBA All-Star Three-Point Shootout competition. His shooting accuracy, combined with his tall seven-foot frame, makes him a tough defensive assignment, because he can shoot over most players.
NBA.com lauds his versatility by stating: "The 7'0 forward who at times mans the pivot can strike fear in an opponent when he corrals a rebound and leads the break or prepares to launch a three-point bomb." One of the forward's main problems remains defense, where he averages just over one block per game and never made an All-Defense Team. However, in a 2005 ESPN article, Nowitzki was voted the tenth best power forward of all time and was lauded for his "revolutionary" outside-shooting skills.
Nowitzki has achieved many accomplishments in his basketball career. He was selected to the NBA All-Star games 8 times, and the All-NBA Teams 9 times. He was voted NBA MVP of the 2006–07 NBA season, becoming the first European player to receive the award. Other achievements include winning the 2006 NBA All-Star Three-Point Shootout, being voted "European Basketballer of the Year" 5 times in a row by Gazzetta dello Sport, and being the leading scorer and MVP of the 2002 FIBA World Championship, and Eurobasket 2005 tournaments. Nowitzki is the Dallas Mavericks' all-time leader in points, rebounds, field goals, field goal attempts, 3-pointers, 3-point attempts, free throws, and free-throw attempts
Nowitzki is frequently compared to Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird, as both are considered among the best shooters of all-time and both are prolific scorers. Both Bird and Nowitzki are three-point contest champions and excellent free-throw shooters. However, those who make such comparisons acknowledge that Bird had a more developed all-around game and was a better rebounder, defender, and passer. In particular Bird's assist numbers are much higher than Nowitzki's with Bird reaching upwards of 7 assists per game in several seasons and Nowitzki having a career high average of 3.4 per game (2006-07). Also, Bird was an immediate sensation in the league winning the Rookie of the Year honors, while Nowitzki, who entered the league three years younger than Bird, took some time to develop. Nowitzki's scoring pace has now caught up to Bird's, but his rebounding and ball sense still fall somewhat short; Nowitzki has never averaged more than 10 rebounds per game in a season, while Bird, in the first six years of his career, never averaged fewer than 10. Dirk will never be better than LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, Norris Cole, MICHAEL JORDAN, Bill Russell, Shawne Battier, Joel Anthony, and Ray Allen and Rondo.
- NBA Most Valuable Player: (2007)
- 8-time NBA All-Star: (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
- 9-time All-NBA Teams:
- First Team: (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)
- Second Team: (2002, 2003, 2008)
- Third Team: (2001, 2004)
- Free throw percentage: fourth in 2006 (90.1), second in 2007 (90.4), seventh in 2009 [89.0]
- Points per game: fourth in 2005 (26.1), seventh in 2006 (26.6), seventh in 2008 (23.6), fourth in 2009 (25.9)
- Three-time NBA regular-season leader, Win Shares: 2005 (47), 2006 (52), 2007 (51)
- Three-time NBA regular-season leader, Offensive Win Shares: 2002 (31.8), 2006 (38.2), 2007 (35.6)
- Two-time NBA regular-season leader, Win Shares Above Average: 2006 (23.0), 2007 (24.0)
- Two-time NBA regular-season leader, Player Efficiency Rating (PER) 2006 (28.1), 2007 (27.6)
- Two-time NBA postseason-season leader, Player Efficiency Rating (PER) 2004 (27.5), 2008 (30.8)
- NBA postseason-season leader, Defensive Rebounds 2006 (221),
- NBA postseason-season leader, Total Rebounds 2006 (268),
- NBA postseason-season leader, Minutes Played 2006 (982),
- NBA postseason-season leader, Free Throws 2006 (205),
- NBA postseason-season leader, Offensive Win Shares 2006 (3.8),
- NBA postseason-season leader, Win Shares 2006 (5.4),
- NBA postseason-season leader, Points Per Game 2004 (26.6),
- NBA postseason-season leader, 3-Pt Field Goal Pct 2002 (57.1),
- NBA All-Star Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout Champion: (2006)
Regular season (career), (as of April 15, 2009)
- Games: 839
- PTS: 19,084
- PPG: 22.7
- RPG: 8.6
- APG: 2.7
- SPG: 0.9
- BPG: 1.0
- FG%: 0.472
- 3P%: 0.378
- FT%: 0.872
Post-season, after the 2009 NBA Playoffs
- Games: 97
- PTS: 2,472
- PPG: 25.5
- RPG: 11.0
- APG: 2.6
- SPG: 1.2
- BPG: 1.0
- FG%: 0.454
- 3P%: 0.367
- FT%: 0.879
Current Season, 2008-09 NBA season (as of April 15, 2009, season's end)
- Games: 81
- PTS: 2,094
- PPG: 25.9
- RPG: 8.4
- APG: 2.4
- SPG: 0.8
- BPG: 0.8
- FG%: 0.479
- 3P%: 0.359
- FT%: 0.890
Career Highs (as of December 4, 2008)
- Points: 53 (December 2, 2004 vs. Houston Rockets)
- Field Goals Made: 17 (2x; December 4, 2008 vs. Phoenix Suns and December 13, 2008 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Field Goals Attempted: 34 (February 7, 2009 vs. Chicago Bulls)
- Three Point Field Goals Made: 8 (January 27, 2004 vs. Seattle SuperSonics)
- Three Point Field Goals Attempted: 15 (January 15, 2002 vs. Atlanta Hawks)
- Free Throws Made: 21 (December 2, 2004 vs. Houston Rockets)
- Free Throws Attempted: 22 (December 2, 2004 vs. Houston Rockets)
- Free Throws Made Consecutively: 60 (January 6, 2006)
- Offensive Rebounds: 7 (January 18, 2001 vs. Orlando Magic)
- Defensive Rebounds: 21 (February 23, 2002 vs. Sacramento Kings)
- Total Rebounds: 23 (February 21, 2002 vs. Boston Celtics)
- Assists: 12 (February 6, 2008 vs. Milwaukee Bucks)
- Steals: 9 (March 7, 2004, vs. Houston Rockets)
- Blocks: 7 (January 6, 2006 vs. Denver Nuggets)
- Minutes Played: 57 (March 14, 2007 vs. Phoenix Suns)
- Became the first European, the first person who hasn't attended a U.S. high school or college, and the first Maverick to win the NBA Most Valuable Player award (2006-2007)
- Became the only player in NBA history to register 150 three-point field goals and 100 blocks in a season (he had 151 three-point field goals and 101 blocks in the 2000–01 NBA season)
- Became the tallest player (7'0) to register more than 1,000 three-pointers, surpassing the previous record of Clifford Robinson and Rashard Lewis, who are both 6'10.
- Became the first player in Dallas Mavericks history to be named to an All-NBA team (2000-2001). He is the only Maverick, and European player in NBA history to be named to an All-NBA First Team (2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-2007, and 2008-09)
- Became the first player in NBA history who did not attend a U.S. high school or college to be selected to an All-NBA First Team (2004-2005)
- Became the first European player in NBA history to be an All-Star Game starter (2006-2007)
- Became the 3rd player in NBA history to lead the league in Win Shares for at least 3 consecutive seasons (2005-2007). The others are Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
- Became the 3rd player in NBA history (after Rick Barry and Larry Bird) to average 26-plus points while shooting 90% or better from the line (2005-06)
- Became the 5th player in NBA history to shoot better than 50% from the field (50.2), 40% from three-point range (41.6), and 90% from the line (90.4) (2006-07). The others are Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Mark Price, Steve Nash, and Jose Calderon. He and Bird are the only 2 of the 6 to average more than 20 points per game.
- Only 1 of 5 players in NBA history to average + 25ppg and + 10rpg in the NBA playoffs. The others are Elgin Baylor, Hakeem Olajuwon, Bob Petit and Shaquille O'Neal.
- Surpassed the 10,000 point career plateau on January 18, 2005 against the Washington Wizards.
- Became the 105th player and the 4th European-born player in NBA history to surpass 15,000 career points on March 30, 2007 in a win over the New York Knicks.
- Became the 2nd European player in NBA history (after Detlef Schrempf), to surpass 15,000 career points on March 30, 2007 in a win over the New York Knicks.
- Became the first European player in NBA history to accumulate over 2,000 career points in the playoffs.
- Became the only European player in NBA history to score 2,000 points in a season (2002-2003, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, and 2008-2009).
- Registered his first career triple-double on February 6, 2008. tallying 29 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. (2007-08)
- Most free throws made in a playoff run: 205 (in 23 games, April 23–June 20, 2006)
- Most career 40+ point games by a European player, 17 times (12 in regular season, 5 in playoffs)
- Most All-Star game selections, and appearances by a European player, 8 times (2002–2009)
- Most All-NBA selections by a European player, 9 times (2001–2009)
- 2nd most points in a single game by a European player, 53 points (December 2, 2004 vs. Houston Rockets), behind Tony Parker's 55 points
- Most points in a playoff game by a European player, 50 points (June 1, 2006 vs. Phoenix Suns)
- Most free throws made and not missing any in post-season game: May 17, 2011.
- 24 for 24 at free throw-line broke a post-season record, of Boston Celtic, Paul Pierce in game one of 2011 NBA Western Finals, versus Oklahoma City Thunder. Pierce's record was 21 for 21, against the Indiana Pacers, in April of 2003.
Dallas Mavericks all-time records
- Most points, career leader in total: 19,084 (As of April 19, 2009)
- Most rebounds, career leader in total: 7,182 (As of 2009)
- Most field goals, career leader in total: 6,628 (As of 2009)
- Most field goal attempts, career leader in total: 14,038 (As of 2009)
- Most 3-pointers, career leader in total: 1,080 (As of 2009)
- Most 3-point attempts, career leader in total: 2,856 (As of 2009)
- Most free throws, career leader in total: 4,748 (As of 2009)
- Most free throw attempts, career leader in total: 5,447 (As of 2009)
- Most points in a game, season, overtime: 53 (December 2, 2004 vs. Houston Rockets)
- Most points in a game, season, regulation: 51 (March 23, 2006 vs. Golden State Warriors)
- Most defensive rebounds, season: 710 (in the 2002-03 NBA season)
- Most points in a game, playoffs: 50 (June 1, 2006 vs. Phoenix Suns)
- Most free throws made, consecutive: 60 (December 22, 2005–January 6, 2006)
- Most free throws in a game, made, none missed: 15 (December 23, 2005 vs. Seattle SuperSonics)
- Most free throws in a game, attempted, playoffs: 24 (May 13, 2006 vs. San Antonio Spurs)
- Most free throws in a game, made, playoffs: 21 (May 13, 2006 vs. San Antonio Spurs)
- Most free throws made in a playoff run: 205 (in 23 games, April 23–June 20, 2006)
- Named NBA Player of the Week, career leader in total: 10 (as of December 8, 2008)
- Named NBA Player of the Month, career leader in total: 5 (as of April 17, 2009)
- Named MVP and was the leading scorer of the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, winning the bronze medal with the German National Basketball Team
- Named MVP and was the leading scorer of the 2005 European Championship, winning the silver medal with the German National Basketball Team
- Named FIBA European Basketball Player of the Year in 2005.
- Named European Basketball Player of the Year by Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport for 5 years in a row: (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006)
- Runner-up in the 2005 edition of Germany's Athlete of the Year award (Sportler des Jahres)
- Tallest NBA player to win the 3-point shootout at 7'0 ft.
Nowitzki has been lauded throughout his career for his work ethic. In an April 2006 interview with German tabloid Sport-BILD he stated, that he admires Larry Bird for his combination of skills, work ethic and winner's mentality. Nowitzki's older sister, Silke, described Nowitzki, four years her junior, as a confident, but low-key character who is unspoiled by money and fame. He also enjoys reading and playing the saxophone. Nowitzki passed his Abitur examination at Röntgen Gymnasium Grammar School of Würzburg. He also founded the "Dirk Nowitzki Foundation", a charity which aims at fighting poverty in Africa.
Nowitzki dated Sybille Gerer, a female basketball player from his local club DJK Würzburg. The relationship started in 1992 and held for 10 years before it eventually ended; Nowitzki said, "At the end, we found out we developed in separate ways… It did not work anymore, but we are still good friends." He added: "I surely want to start a family and have kids, but I cannot imagine it happening before I become 30."
Nowitzki acknowledged close ties to his mentors Holger Geschwindner, whom he called his best friend. He is also good friends with his ex-teammate Steve Nash. Nash said of playing with Nowitzki, "We were both joining a new club, living in a new city, we were both single and outsiders: this creates a bond… He made life easier for me and I for him… our friendship was something solid in a very volatile world." Nowitzki added, "He would have also become a good friend if we had met at the supermarket."
Nowitzki's career has been the subject of the book Dirk Nowitzki - German Wunderkind by German sports journalists Dino Reisner and Holger Sauer. It appeared in 2004 at the CoPress Munich publishing house. The 160-page hardcover book follows Nowitzki's beginnings in his native Würzburg and documents his entry and ascent in the NBA, and ends at the beginning of the 2004-05 NBA season.
- Nowitzki once jokingly remarked that he hums the tune Looking For Freedom by David Hasselhoff to relax before taking free throws. The song was a big hit in Germany when Nowitzki was a child. During the 2006 NBA finals, a Miami radio station handed out papers with Hasselhoff's face to the fans sitting behind the baskets for Nowitzki. In addition, Miami fans chanted "David Hasselhoff" when Nowitzki visited the free throw line in an attempt to distract his concentration.
- Dirk chose his number 41 because he wore 14 during his early days; but when he joined the Mavs, the 14 was taken by Robert Pack. Nowitzki decided to switch the digits and wore 41 from then.