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The Great Nowitzki

An important new basketball book from Thomas Pletzinger

Dirk Nowitzki joined the Dallas Mavericks in 1999, almost exactly when I started covering the NBA full-time. One of the first things I learned about the NBA was, essentially, that the real stuff is behind a closed training room door, a sweaty public relations manager, or on the plane.

One way I knew that: I could see that Dirk often traveled with his personal coach, from Germany, Holger Geschwindner. There was something about how they laughed together, the reverent-but-jokey tone Dirk used, that just didn’t make it into public. Occasionally Holger would emerge, Yodaesque, to share one percent of his knowledge

But it was a tease. I knew enough to know that we didn’t know. And then, starting in 2012, Holger and Dirk would emerge from some car, or head into some restaurant, there would very often be another man with them. Who was that guy? “Some German writer,” I remember the answer.

Clever. Some German writer—Thomas Pletzinger—was in the room and would get the real story. Pletzinger writ…

Henry Abbott