Dirk Nowitzki is a professional basketball player from Wurzburg, Germany. Nowitzki was born June 19, 1978, and immediately became attracted to basketball. His mother was a professional handball player in Germany, and his father helped get him interested into the sport. In the 1998 NBA Draft, he was taken by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 8th pick overall. The Dallas Mavericks acquired him in a trade later in the draft for Robert "Tractor" Trailer.
Nowitzki was introduced in the same press conference along with Steve Nash, who was acquired in a trade the week earlier. Although both struggled in their first season, Nowitzki shined in Don Nelson's high octane offense. Dirk made his splash in the 2001 NBA Playoffs, where the Mavericks shocked the Utah Jazz, beating them in 5 games. Two years later, the Mavericks made it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1988. Dirk suffered a sprained knee in Game 4 of that series, and lost to the Spurs in 6 games.
Success and Dissappointment
In the middle of the 2004-05 season, Don Nelson resigned as head coach, and defensive minded Avery Johnson stepped in, and the Mavericks immediately became a title contender once again. In the 2005-06 season, the Mavericks made it to the NBA Finals for the first time in their history. Dirk Nowitzki was the leader of the team with huge performances against the Spurs in Game 7 of the Conference Semifinals, and in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, where Nowtizki scored a career playoff high 50 points. The Mavs would take a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals only to have it evaporate, losing to the Miami Heat, 4-2.
The following season, the Dallas Mavericks won 67 games, the most in franchise history, along with Nowitzki having one of his best seasons of his career. Nowitzki won the MVP, becoming the first European player to do so. However, his team did not fare as well. The Mavericks, a #1 seed, lost to the 8 seed Golden State Warriors, marking the first time a 1 seed lost in the first round of a 7 game series.
In the 2010-2011 season, Nowitzki finally won his first and only NBA championship with the Mavericks. Nowitzki finished the regular season with averages of 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists, and the Mavericks ended the season with a third seed in the West. The team made its way to the Finals against the Miami Heat by beating the Portland Trail Blazers, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks beat the Heat 4-2 in the Finals, with Nowitzki being named the NBA Finals MVP. For the 2011 playoffs, Nowitzki averaged 27.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 21 games.
Dirk remains a top player in the NBA. His size (7 feet, 0 inches), presents massive mismatches for defenders. For his size, his shooting range makes him tough to guard. He can take tall people to the basket, and can post up smaller defenders. He is considered one of the best power forwards of all time in the NBA, and is a future Hall of Famer.