2011 NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki opened up about something he should have done during his rookie season that could have helped him improve.
During his rookie season in 1998, Nowitzki only averaged 8.2 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game. And although he quickly managed to improve his game the following year, the German basketball star admitted that he should have reached out to his fellow German countrymen Detlef Schrempf when he first entered the league.
In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Sporting News, Nowitzki revealed how he became competitive in basketball. According to the Mavericks legend, even though both of his parents were athletes, he developed his competitiveness in a unique way.
“I don’t think so. The main reason is we lived in a large house where I was always the youngest. My sister is four years older, two cousins older than me lived there as well. So I was often too small to play with them. They said, ‘Sit on the side. You’re not ready yet.’ That inspired my competitiveness. I had to establish myself,” Nowitzki revealed.
Despite knowing that he has to establish himself to be able to compete, Nowitzki still got a bit overwhelmed when he first entered the NBA. He then admitted that Schrempf offered to help him during his rookie season but he seldom reached out to the Sonics legend. Roughly 21 years later, Nowitzki regretted his decision.
“He (Schrempf) gave me his number right away, if I needed something,” Nowitzki recalled.
“I was impressed by how nice Detlef was to me, and I wanted to continue that tradition. I was too self-conscious to actually reach out to him, which is why we barely spoke. But that wasn’t me being too confident to say I didn’t need his help — I just didn’t want to bother him with my petty rookie problems. Looking back at it, I should have reached out more,” Nowitzki pointed out.
Nowitzki never wanted to repeat the same mistake and now that he is officially retired, he has vowed to help every young player in Germany.
“That got me to offer the same for players who came after me. Today, every young German player has my number. I always try to help whenever anything comes up,” Nowitzki revealed.
Nowitzki also galdly emphasized that he is currently enjoying his retirement but admitted that someday, he will miss playing basketball.