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Dirk admits his drive suffered after winning a title, still wishes he’d gotten to party more

Feb 26, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Dirk Nowitzki AP

What do you do after you’ve done the best you can? Where do you go after you reach the apex? You spend 18 years of your life working towards something, and then, finally, after so many failures and disappointments, you walk away with proof of success. What do you do after that?

For Dirk Nowitzki, who has long been one of the most focused, dedicated players in the league, returning to the floor was hard. He’d endured so much, worked so hard to win a championship. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Nowitzki admitted that after winning the Finals last summer, he didn’t have the same kind of enduring drive he’s had for so much of his career.

“I know one thing changed, and that was my motivation was gone for a little bit,” Nowitzki went on. “And I really had to fight to get it back and get the fun back.”

via Mavericks NBA championship keeps Dirk Nowitzki motivated – Ian Thomsen –

And you can tell. Nowitzki entered the NBA season out of shape for the first time, ever, and had to take a four-game break to rest his knee and go through his usual conditioning issues. To put it short, Nowitzki was not done celebrating. Even after a longer layoff than normal with the lockout, there wasn’t enough time for him after winning the championship to validate his career.

Part of that is because almost immediately, he was forced to jump into the European Championships to try and qualify for the Olympics with the German national team. The team flamed out, and Nowitzki told SI that bit too much into his ability to enjoy the title.

“Now I reached both goals, and it was just hard in the beginning,” he said. “The Euros came too quick, right after the [NBA] championship. I only had, like, a month off. I needed more time to get away and enjoy the championship. If I would have had a couple months off to enjoy it, party, get everything out of the way, then start slowly back up — that would have been the way to go. But I decided to play, to try my best, and we didnt qualify, unfortunately.”

via Mavericks NBA championship keeps Dirk Nowitzki motivated – Ian Thomsen –

Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could wind up seeing your field goal percentage drop by six points, apparently.

Nowitzki came into camp out of shape and still wishes he’d gotten to party more. No wonder Cuban wants to get his guys out of the international competitions.

You can’t blame Dirk. You work so hard, you want to enjoy it. But that’s not how his career works. You can tell the lift is gone from Nowitzki, and it’ll be interesting to see if he  is able to regain it. Nowtizki in his usual reasonable, humble way, admits in the interview that winning another title will be difficult and the tone reflects a kind of resignation. He knows how long it took him to make his run, and how special that was, how different this team is. Hard to fault a guy for wanting to take a minute to just savor a life-long accomplishment.


  1. AlohaMrHand - Feb 26, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    I think somebody needs a pep talk from German icon David Hasslehoff

  2. xLith - Feb 26, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    As a Houston Rockets fan, I despise the Dallas Mavericks. However, I have great respect for Nowitzki and I’m happy that he finally got a championship. He had an incredible run last year and after all of this time he does deserve to relish in it a bit and relax. Although he can’t lose that fire for too long because back-to-backs don’t happen very often in the NBA (or any pro sport) and Dallas will definitely need everything he has got to stand a chance in this shortened season.

  3. hjworton46 - Feb 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Regardless of wether or not DN can add a second title to his résumé, he has redefined his position and has earnt the right to do whatever he likes in throughout the rest of his career.

  4. fouldwimmerlaik - Feb 26, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Then again, real champs know how to defend their titles and won’t settle for just being one-hit wonders…

    • md23rewlz - Feb 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      The only team that’s won back-to-back titles in the last decade has been the Lakers. It’s not easy to do. Dallas is going to land somewhere between a two and six seed, in a conference that is more or less wide open outside of OKC’s well-defined one seed-ness. It’s silly to knock Dirk for wanting to take it easy. Dude’s 34 and just achieved the one thing he was trying for his whole career. Even with his poor start, Dallas is still in solid position for a mid/high playoff seed. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see Dallas back in the WCF. It’s not like LA or San Antonio are teams for the ages, and this Dallas team has played solid ball as of late. And one last note, isn’t the Coast Through the Regular Season strategy one that teams like the Lakers and Celtics have done repeatedly?

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