No matter how you feel about Dirk Nowitzki’s place in NBA history vis-à-vis “Top 10” lists and whatnot, yesterday’s interview in Der Spiegel will certainly put him among the all-time greats in terms of humility.
In the interview, which touches on subjects including Barack Obama, race relations in the NBA, and the upcoming 2011 Eurobasket tournament, Nowitzki deflects compliments about his outstanding play in the championship series against the Miami Heat with “I don’t think that I played all that exceptionally in the finals. If we hadn’t played so well together as a team, it would have been disastrous.”
The big Maverick went on to discuss his lack of grace when doing high-profile public appearances: “I’m not cut out for such moments,” said Nowitzki. “I feel ashamed when the entire focus is on me. I think people can see that. In public appearances, I am stiff as a board.” (Except for when he’s doing Queen renditions, apparently.)
Nowitzki also touches upon this summer’s European championship tournament, stating emphatically that “I definitely want to play,” but cited health issues as a possible obstacle: “I have been carrying a flu bug around with me for four weeks. It makes no sense to play in the European championships if I am only halfway healthy.”
For more from Dirk, including thoughts on the NBA labor dispute (though not too much about speculation he’ll be coming to play German ‘ball), the American president, the bizarre reaction to winning the title, and the congratulations he received from Muhammad Ali, read the English-language interview here.