Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki is back and fans likely have one season to watch him play. Here’s a bit of fiction to get you thinking about the icon.
The Dallas Mavericks G.O.A.T. Dirk Nowitzki walked onto the practice court. He was still young, but in this business, he was old. Very old. Every year more young men came for his job. For two decades he held them at bay, kept them at arm’s length. But now he knew it wouldn’t take long.
The sound of balls dribbling echoed off the walls of the practice facility. He watched those around him and listened to the sounds of basketball, the game that made him and gave him everything. This was his sanctuary, his church, and his cathedral. Basketball was his religion.
He thought of Germany. How far away it was and how far he had come. Nowitzki thought of Holger and wished the old man was here. Just his presence made Dirk feel better. The old man steadied him and made everything right.
The ever-present sound of bouncing basketballs brought him back to the present. He motioned to a coach, who grabbed a ball from a rack and tossed it to him. Just the touch of it comforted him. Somehow his hands felt incomplete without one. Dirk Nowitzki looked to the basket and shot the ball. He watched its flight through the air and felt awe when it went through the net. Swish.
Over and over he let the ball fly, the leather grazing the nylon as it fell through. This is basketball, he thought. The art of perfecting something that will never be perfect. He would tell Holger that, he decided. It sounded like something the old man would say.
After a little sweat formed on his forehead, Dirk tossed the ball back at the coach and thanked him. Certain joints ached, but he was used to that. His muscles felt warm and loose. That was all that mattered. His shot was falling and if the shot was falling, then everything was perfect.
His eyes searched the court until he found the boy, this new version of himself, someone so like him but so different. He called for a ball and walked over to the young Slovenian, the one who would take his place. The young man smiled, humble and cocky at the same time, crouched down into a defensive stance.
Gimme this burger, Dirk said.