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“Did a Workout For the Boston Celtics”: Recalling His Uncertainty With the NBA Draft, Dirk Nowitzki Remember Mavericks Picking Him as the 6th Pick

Tonoy Sengupta

"Did a Workout For the Boston Celtics": Recalling His Uncertainty With the NBA Draft, Dirk Nowitzki Remember Mavericks Picking Him as the 6th Pick

Dirk Nowitzki appeared alongside hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on ‘All the Smoke‘ very recently. During his time there, the Dallas Mavericks legend was asked to spill the beans on a multitude of things. Of these, perhaps the most interesting was the reveal of his thought process ahead of the 1998 NBA draft.

“I did a workout for the Boston Celtics, I think for Rick Patino, somewhere, and he was on in Italy, in vacation. And so, he saw me. I knew Dallas [was] at the sixth pick, I knew Boston [was] at the 10th pick at the time. And the rest was kind of up in the air.”

The 2011 NBA champ then added that he wasn’t quite sure about the draft and was even considering pulling out of it.

“I can still go to college, I don’t have an agent, can still stay in Europe. So I didn’t even go to the draft!”

Nowitzki then explained his rationale behind not attending the draft despite being projected as a lottery pick coming out of Europe.

“I didn’t go to the draft because I thought, ‘There is no way someone is actually taking me with that risk of me not showing up, and waste a top ten pick. And so I stayed in Germany. I trained all the way through.”

Nowitzki then detailed that his agent got a call in the middle of the night from the Dallas Mavericks coach, Don Nelson, with the news that he had been picked up by Dallas. They would later also talk about Dirk not needing to take much pressure since they were a bad team already, something that helped the German out massively. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Dirk Nowitzki panned out pretty well for the Dallas Mavericks

Having come into the NBA alongside big names like Paul Pierce and Vince Carter, Nowitzki’s name was somewhat buried at first. However, the Mavericks didn’t let that affect their views on the prospect, despite his being from Europe as well (it was considered a liability at the time, due to inconsistent scouting of international players).

As time went on, Dirk Nowitzki received the keys to the franchise and even won the franchise its first-ever NBA championship back in 2011. His ring and Finals MVP would later play a massive role in his 2023 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

So, while Dirk Nowitzki may have made his decision with shaky conviction, his choice to stay in the NBA draft proved to be the start of a very special journey.

About the author

Tonoy Sengupta

Tonoy Sengupta


Tonoy Sengupta is a Senior Editor at The SportsRush. Coming from an athletically inclined family, he has been surrounded by sports ever since he was 4 years old. But, while initially pouring all his time into Football (soccer), at 14, Tonoy discovered basketball through the countless highlights of Stephen Curry humiliating players from Curry Land. And just like that, a fiery passion for the game was ignited within Tonoy. And soon after, he decided to become a student of journalism, graduating in 2022, and choosing sports as his area of interest. Today, you can find him spending 99% of his time browsing through every type of content on every team in the NBA, before uncorking everything he has found to the world. In the 1% he isn't doing this, you can find him playing Basketball, Football, Volleyball, or practically any other sport he has had the opportunity to learn.

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