The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Dirk in progress

Typically, Dirk Nowitzki is not the type of player to take his job lightly, so Head Coach Rick Carlisle’s blatant admittance that Nowitzki is not in good enough shape to play is extremely shocking. Three weeks into the season that the Mavericks are set to defend their title and Nowitzki will miss at least four games over a stretch of eight days to get his body back into game shape.

Since the season started, Nowitzki did not appear to be the player he was only six months ago. I assumed something was wrong, but I didn’t know for sure. This year he’s averaging around 16 points, whereas last year this time he was averaging around 22. I played it off as just his decrease in playing time, but unfortunately the break he’s taking is assuring me that something else is definitely going on. His hiatus is leaving me with new insight into how I view Nowitzki. But should this really change that much? It’s only four games in a career of more than 1,000.

Ever since Nowitzki was drafted by the Bucks and traded to the Mavericks in 1998, I have put him on a pedestal. Learning a completely different language while playing professional basketball in a foreign country astounded me. Good thing he did not know English right away though, because when he was first here he was horrific, and he was bashed repeatedly in the media as being Irk Nowitzki: he played no defense so he did not deserve the D in his name.

However, when faced with such adversity, Nowitzki did not go crying back to Germany, but instead put in hard work, extra practice time, and was committed to becoming a better player (eventually the face of the franchise, league MVP, and Finals MVP). Or so I thought.

In my mind, naïvely I guess, I always imagined Nowitzki in the gym at three in the morning shooting free throws, jump shots and working on his overall game. I imagined him staying after practice late to work with the coaches and in the gym longer than everyone else to be stronger, to be better, to be the best. And I always thought that was what it took to be the best. I remember hearing on the radio after the Mavericks won the Western Conference Finals last year, that to celebrate Nowitzki MIGHT break his diet and have a slice of pizza. To me Dirk was dedicated, persistent, diligent, and could surmount any adversity he faced, like losing a 2-0 in the 2006 Finals. And that’s what I thought it took to succeed. But now, that image is forever shattered simply because he neglected to take care of his body and get into game shape to help his Mavericks defend a championship title they worked so hard to achieve.

Have all these years of idolizing Nowitzki been lies? Was I not smart enough to see through his humble façade that with hard work and determination you can achieve whatever you set your mind to? I tried living my life to standards that he would live his life. But were those standards self-imagined or did Dirk really just not have enough time to give his body the rest it needed with enough time left to prepare for the current NBA season? So while Nowitzki takes his four game sabbatical-like escape from real NBA basketball, I will be left wondering what to make of Nowitzki, and hoping that this is just a blip in his Hall-of-Fame career.

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About the Contributor
Samantha Wendt, Managing Editor
Initially, the legendary snack cabinet and promise of courtside Mavericks tickets lured Senior Samantha Wendt to the newspaper class. Wendt enjoys experimenting with dessert recipes, and sometimes spends upwards of 6 hours making a decadent dessert. Even more than food, Wendt worships the Dallas Mavericks. She idolizes NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, and knows every single statistic and happening within the Mavericks organization. In the 1st grade Wendt alternated between studying the biographies of the first 42 US Presidents and learning Russian. In 4th grade, she progressed to mapping out the rest of her life; she decided to travel to every single country in the world for a year after college, become a spy for the President, take a bullet in the leg for the President which would led to her subsequent two-term election, and become a college professor until she dies. Now, Wendt has made her life plan more achievable, and aspires to join the FBI.

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