The Dallas Mavericks haven’t been the most successful franchise in NBA history. They don’t have the 17 championships of the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers, the superstar impact of the Chicago Bulls, or the dynastic success of the San Antonio Spurs or Golden State Warriors.
The German legend battled past the likes of Brandon Roy, Kobe Bryant, a young Kevin Durant, and the first year of the LeBron James Heatles en route to capturing the championship.
Nowitzki was just inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of a stacked 2023 class that also included Gregg Popovich, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, and Becky Hammon.
With Nowitzki entering the Hall, plenty of stories have been floating around, as the big man had a long, impressive career with the Mavericks that spanned 21 years.
Long-time Mavericks employee shares hilarious first impression of Dirk Nowitzki amid Hall of Fame induction
Mavs.com recently sat down with some of their long-time staff members that worked with Nowitzki through the years. One of them was Vice President of Ticket Operations Mike Childers, who started working with the team in 1980 (and started full-time in 1988).
Each staff member was asked a series of questions about Nowitzki, one of which was their first impression of the big man when he entered the league.
When Childers was posed with the question, his response was equally heartwarming and absolutely hilarious, as the VP was less than thrilled when Dallas picked Nowitzki.
"Ha, well my initial impression was “Why in the hell did we draft him!” I knew nothing of him. I’m glad that I was really wrong about that. My favorite two memories of Dirk were watching him sit at Lisa Tyner’s desk, just talking and signing autographs for hours and he did it all the time, not just once a year or something.- Mike Childers, Mavs VP of Ticket Ops
The second one was when he’d sit with Theta [Hall] at the receptionist desk. The look on people’s faces when they’d walk in was priceless. I also just love how fun of a person he is. I don’t think most people know how funny he is."
The Mavericks landed Nowitzki in a draft night trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, as the German forward was picked with the ninth overall selection in 1998.
A member of the same draft class as Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, and Rashad Lewis, Nowitzki had some other Hall-of-Famers in his class, but he outshined them all.
It’s unsurprising to hear Childers’ confusion at the Mavericks’ decision to select Nowitzki, as, at the time, overseas players weren’t the staples they are today.
But in the end, Childers should be very pleased with the way everything turned out.
As should Mavericks fans everywhere.