A sit-down with Dirk Nowitzki

The lessons that made his NBA career, the lessons he teaches his children.

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BY HENRY ABBOTT

Recently, Dexter Henry, Jarod Hector and I were lucky enough to spend an hour in Manhattan with Dirk Nowitzki and the author Thomas Pletzinger who just published The Great Nowitzki, an all-access book (reviewed here). It’s a wonderful book, which really gives you the feeling of living Dirk’s journey from a tall kid who was so skinny he avoided swimming pools (he didn’t want to take his shirt off) to NBA champion.

Along the way is an incredible number of workouts, and years of avoiding carbs, alcohol, sugar and practically everything that wasn’t fish, chicken, salad, and water. (When he retired, Dirk says, he went “crazy” with fast food and put on twenty pounds. Now he’s trying to get that under control; the day we met, he ordered a salad.)

In the video above, Dirk discusses the lessons he learned from Holger Geschwindner, the former player who became Dirk’s unconventional mentor, coach, guide—and the guy who literally walked on his back. Dirk credits Holger with making him the player he was. Dirk explains which of the lessons from his decades in basketball he is trying to pass on to his children.