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Nobody knows who Dirk Nowitzki is

Jun 2, 2011, 4:39 PM EDT

Dirk in black background

Dirk Nowitzki has carried the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals with some absolutely masterful performances, is probably the best European player to ever play in the NBA, and has been one of the league’s best players for years now. But that doesn’t mean many people actually, you know, know who he is. As it turns out, Nowitzki has Arcade Fire-like name recognition, according to Cheryl Hall of the Dallas Morning News (hat tip to Deadspin’s Emma Carmichael):

Nearly two-thirds of American consumers still don’t recognize the Mavericks’ superstar forward, even after Nowitzki’s stellar performance in the Western Conference playoffs, according to consumer feedback compiled by the Marketing Arm for The Dallas Morning News.


The most staggering figure found out from the study, however, is that Nowitzki isn’t even the most recognized player on his own team. That honor would go point guard Jason Kidd. ‘Nowitzki is practically invisible compared to Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, who is recognized by eight of 10 consumers,’ Hall noted in her article. ‘Even Mavericks teammate Jason Kidd scores higher, with nearly half of consumers knowing who he is.’

Maybe a Finals win will help more Americans recognize Nowitzki, but even if he loses, it’s sort of ludicrous that so many Americans don’t know who one of the NBA’s best athletes on the court and best role models off the court is.

  1. randysavage4ever - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    I met the entire Dallas team November of 2009…


    dampier, drew gooden (on team then), matt carroll, jason kidd, jason terry, shawn marion, all of them – NOT A WORD


    down to earth, cool guy, couldnt believe he spoke to me , also couldnt believe the rest of the team ignored me…

    random factoid – Nowitzki actually talks with alotta slang, it figures…English was his 2nd language when he came from Germany and he learned English along the way…well you and I know the kinda language used in NBA locker rooms and how other NBA players talk…so naturally he was going to pick up on it if he had never been taught English from grade school…So yes Dirk talks modern & with slang like one of your homies, he still has the german accent with it, but he sounds straight and was cool as heck!

    I know who Dirk is…and if you dont know who he is you shouldnt be watching basketball…

    • slopmcflop - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:58 PM

      “and if you don’t know who he is you shouldn’t be watching basketball”

      I’d argue that if someone doesn’t know who Dirk is they should try watching MORE basketball. Seriously, who doesn’t love seeing a 7 footer that can shoot right over the top of everyone. Phenomenal player.

      • chargerdillon - Jun 2, 2011 at 8:19 PM

        I’d say he has the prettiest show in the NBA. Blows me away with his size he can still step back and rainbow the ball perfectly over the defender in front of him so flawlessly.

        I’m a big Lebron fan, but a guy like Dirk is a guy you’re always happy for when he wins, total class act

  2. diablito0402 - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Cool story randy. Sounds like a great experience big ups to you patna.

  3. mella21 - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Well .he’s not keeping up with a Kardashian, he doesn’t have a sneaker line I’ve ever heard of, hasn’t done anything outrageous at press conference…

    More important, Dallas is not a hotbed of excitement for the press, outside of Mark Cuban. Even when the Mavs were in the finals a few years ago, Shaq and D-wade teaming up was a WAY bigger story.

    It doesn’t matter, because I dont think Dirk cares to be a Lebron or Wade. I can’t picture him wearing lavender sweaters and thousand $ glasses, he just goes about his business on the court, and that’s what a lot of people DO like about him. He’s one of the few athletes I would actually think is a cool person in real life.

  4. denverhoopdreams - Jun 2, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Can you sign this for me Neice?

    Sure, whats her name?

    Ummm… Dirk.

    Dirk is a class act. Love watching him play. Of course the casual fan wouldn’t know who he is though.. some casual fans I know still think MJ plays… SAD!

  5. bj1980 - Jun 3, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    And one gets the sense that Nowitzki likes that just fine. This is Dallas, where sport is God and gets more worship; he could be as famous as he wants to be.

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