Jul 6, 2011, 12:07 PM EDT
This is Dirk Nowtizki’s moment in the sun.
He had none other than the living legend that is Muhammed Ali send him signed boxing gloves that say, “you are the greatest.” He has had parades where he was the star in Dallas and his hometown of Wurzburg, Germany. After years of being overlooked as one of the best players on the planet, he is getting his due.
And he’s not comfortable with it.
Nowitzki was very honest about that in an interview with German publication Spiegel.
SPIEGEL: You are now a German-American idol.
Nowitzki: To be honest, I slowly have the feeling that I’m not cut out for such moments.
SPIEGEL: What do you mean?
Nowitzki: Well, at the very least I don’t behave terribly competently. 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….
When the whistle blew to end the sixth and decisive game, blood rushed to my head. Without even thinking about what I was doing, I ran toward the locker room…. I only know that many of our PR people ran after me. They yelled: “Stay here. You can’t do that. The trophy is going to be presented.” I said: “I don’t want it.” I got into the shower, pressed my face into a towel and began to cry. Then I heard them yelling again. “Dirk!” I said: “They should give it to someone else.” Not exactly worthy of a champion, is it?
Actually, I think it’s a lot like a champion who does not feel entitled to the ring but had to work so very hard to get it. The kind of champion we need more of.