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Nowitzki walking away from endorsement dollars

Jul 8, 2011, 3:53 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six Getty Images

The game’s biggest names — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the like — make more in endorsements and deals off the court than on it.

Dirk Nowitzki could be one of those guys. Right now companies are willing to back Brinks trucks up to his house if he just signs on the dotted line.

But he doesn’t want to, he told the German pubilication Spiegel. Over at The Daily they find this a refreshing attitude.

“There certainly isn’t a shortage of offers,” Nowitzki recently told the German magazine Spiegel. “You wouldn’t believe how many watch manufacturers have sent me their models. Just like that. I give them all away. I am satisfied with what I have. How crazy do you have to be when you can afford everything but still clutter up your life with all sorts of advertising appointments? No thanks….”

It’s difficult to say how much money Nowitzki is leaving on the table, but several industry sources speculated that the number would easily be in the tens of millions over the rest of his career…

But perhaps by turning down endorsements, it will be easier for Nowitzki to maintain his appeal as a different kind of NBA star. It wasn’t just his play during the finals that captured the public’s imagination, but rather his role as the foil to LeBron James. Unlike James, Nowitzki never made a big deal of his free agency last summer, quietly re-signing with Dallas for less money. Unlike James, he was clutch in the fourth quarter. And unlike James, he was only interested in winning championship, not becoming the face of a watch company.

In a way, turning down so much money makes Nowitzki more likable than ever.

Nowitzki isn’t hurting, he has made $141.3 million over his career and is owed more than $62 million on his new deal. But in our society, how many people would walk away from easily making more?

  1. goforthanddie - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Finally, an athlete who understands you only need so much money.
    If you can’t live off of 200mil, and provide comfort for the next few generations of your family, you have a problem.

    • trueballs - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:24 PM

      It is a breath of fresh air, that’s for sure. But he understands that because he grew up with two pro athletes as parents with plenty of money.

    • jabberwock3 - Jul 9, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      You know the really funny thing about his not wanting to get involved in product endorsement is that there are probably 3 maybe 4 people in America that won’t think the guy is an idiot. My god, what a refreshing attitude. Basketball needs a lot more selflessness and a lot less LeBronness.

  2. worldbfree4me - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I guess El Dirke will ride off into the Sunset and never be seen again when basketball is over. What about the kids in Deutschland wanting their countrys image to be held in a high regard? Dirk and his brand could go along way towards that, because let’s face it, most Americans still have negative views of Nazi Germany. I’m still stunned on how they could let Adolf rise to power and ignore all those atrocities. But, Dirk could help me and others with our rehabilitation if poped a Sprite on TV every now and then.

    • almzor - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:30 PM

      If you’re stunned by the complacency of the German populace, you should go read up on the actual Nazi rise to power. It’s not like Hitler ran for Chancellor on a genocidal platform, that stuff came much later.While you’re at it, read up on the eugenics work the US and the UK were doing prior to WW2. The German populace were no different than any other Western nation’s at the time, they just had a leader with fewer scruples and a thing against Jews.

      • blueintown - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:42 PM

        Geez. Thanks, weirdo.

    • savocabol1 - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      Right, because Dirk doing some endorsement deals is going to make America forget about the Nazis and start loving Germany. Great theory.

      • david8726 - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:41 PM

        News flash – America doesn’t hate germany anymore. Stop playing call of duty so much.

    • Andrew - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:00 PM

      Seriously, this is the dumbest thing i’ve read all day, and i’ve been reading CNN at work. You mean to say that popping a Sprite on TV “every now and then” would serve to help “rehabilitate” an image? That being a face in corporate America will somehow alleviate bad impressions rooted in history? I mean, frankly, since the end of World War 2, I can’t really think of too many controversial actions that Germany has pursued, but now switch views to America and what do you get? And becoming a tool for commercial gain would contribute to absolutely nothing but the pockets of those companies (and Dirk’s of course). I think that his turning down sponsors goes farther in revealing the character maturity of both Dirk and possibly the German society, versus when you look at what America has to offer: Lebron James.

    • georgeanderson2 - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:34 PM

      Most people have a dislike for Nazi beliefs, not Germany. Dirk is an exceptional basketball player who happens to be from Germany. He has to play the game just like everyone else, being from Germany doesn’t hurt or help his game. Being a seven footer with guard skills and a sweet jumper is what makes him different. Anybody would find a spot on their roster for him.

    • goforthanddie - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:48 PM

      Nazi Germany? WTF kind of time-traveling have you been doing?

    • 1742hawk - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:02 PM

      you’re rehab? You’re referring to the surgery to remove your head from your a$$?

    • davidly - Jul 9, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      You wouldn’t happen to be keeping tabs of the innocent civilian body count in “Af-Pak”, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and in the who knows how many secret prisons are still operating, would you there worldbfree4me?

    • jabberwock3 - Jul 9, 2011 at 11:30 AM


  3. tashkalucy - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    A real human being with common sense, values, perspective and maturity. 100% class.

    No wonder Dwayne Wade and Lebron James made fun of him

  4. jjstrokes - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Germany is just about the most tolerant country in the world nowadays. If any American still views/refers to the nation as Nazi Germany than that person obviously has some MAJOR issues.

  5. n8fite - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    just another reason why dirk is a better player than lebrick

  6. mistercharitystripe34 - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Have to appreciate a guy who just wants to be great at what he does without all the extra hoopla surrounding his career. Dirk is a sure-fire hall-of-famer if he never dribbles another ball. He’s old enough to appreciate his accomplishments and doesn’t feel the need to aggrandize himself.

    • goforthanddie - Jul 9, 2011 at 3:41 AM

      +1 for using “aggrandize” on an online sports forum.

  7. dcarlock - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    How could you not love Dirk (humble & hard working)! LeBron, Riley, South Beach (proud)! I”ll take DIRK & his posse,,, anytime!!!

    • goforthanddie - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:50 PM

      Dirk doesn’t have a posse. Yet another reason he kicks leb’s ass.

  8. jiujitsu365 - Jul 8, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    He is not better than others because he turns down endorsements.

  9. ftmorganfoley - Jul 9, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Some of you looney folks almost had me second guessing my purchase of a Honda Ridgeline because, you know, they bombed Pearl Harbor……… WTF are you people thinking – when a nice story about a decent sports figure (who was born in Germany) elicits John Birch comments?.?.?.?

  10. diablito0402 - Jul 9, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    What in hell do nazi germans got to do with any of this article, its about dirk wanting to stay private and not on every commercial on tv.

  11. davidly - Jul 9, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    I’m sure he’s aware of the downside to overexposure and it sounds like he prefers not to spend his off-season in camera sessions. He does have a deal with Nike, though.

  12. delius1967 - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    This is why people called him “soft” for so many years — he doesn’t pound his chest and demand that every camera look at him and only him. If that’s “soft” give me more of it. I’m sick of the NBA style bozos. Give me real sports heroes: humble, hard-working, and unbelievably talented. Give me guys like Dirk, every time.

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