Dirk Nowitzki, Hall of Famer. While this highest of attributes in the sport of basketball has become an inevitability at some point of the Great Nowitzki’s illustrious career, it has been a long time coming. Mainly because dude played for an unprecedented twenty-one seasons – all of which for the one franchise that picked him 9th in the 1998 NBA Draft (kind of).
Starting out as a skinny, blonde kid with a jumper and a dream, Nowitzki set out to break barriers and records alike, forever changing the game he – like many others – loves so dearly. A class act throughout, Dirk delivered a moving speech in front of the assembled basketball royalty at the 2023 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, completing his journey from Würzburg, Germany to Springfield, MA.
As Dirk takes his rightful place among the greatest the sport has ever seen, the fans – from the Mavs to the DBB to general hoops aficionados around the globe – are left with two things. There is the blissful feeling of nostalgia, reliving some of the most memorable moments of his one-of-a-kind career, the title in eleven, the standing-ovation in Belgrade, the one-legged fade away over the outstretched arm of a defender.
There are also the parting words of his Hall of Fame induction speech – delivered with class, in addition to a variety of other attributes skillfully listed by Nowitzki – he addressed to his kids and, in a way, the adoring basketball community as a whole:
When you’re green, you grow. When you’re ripe, you rot.