By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Not to worry. Thanks to motivational carrots dangled by ignorant fans and an idiotic player, the Mavs possess something no other NBA team has: A determined German.
Other than Britney Spears—who obviously shaved her head in a show of allegiance—no one outside Dallas appreciates Nowitzki. He averages 25 points, 10 rebounds and has added defensive ferocity and left-handed finishes to his game, making him the most difficult player to defend and the no-brainer front-runner for MVP. Yet, 15 players received more All-Star votes; Wade almost a million more. Dirk finished fourth—at his own position—cementing his unique status as a Top 5 player with only Top 20 popularity.
In the future Dirk will earn a championship and the Hall of Fame, but in his present: relative anonymity.
He doesn't have—much less need—multiple tattoos or phat nicknames or signature shoes or anything other than life as a gym rat. He's not included in those Nike "Second Coming" commercials. He doesn't know Mary J. Blige from Mary Poppins. His next unfair, unprovoked, unnecessary slight of an opponent will be his first.
During All-Star Weekend, while his peers flitted around Las Vegas with their platinum posses and diamond-encrusted cell phones, Dirk attended his sister Silke's wedding at a tiny chapel and reception at a German beer garden. In the game he took only nine shots, less than half as many as attention-starved MVP Kobe Bryant.
Bling, meet blah.
Dirk is the room's giant white elephant, ignored by everyone. Except Dwyane.
Says Nowitzki, "This is going to motivate me even more."
Dwyane Wade, shut the fu...
No, on second thought, keep talkin'.