Dirk Nowitzki seemingly gave LeBron James the cold shoulder during his final All-Star Game appearance in 2019 alongside Dwyane Wade.
Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki are 2 of the era-defining players of the 2000s. Dirk came into the league 5 years earlier than LeBron and D-Wade did in 2003.
By the time James and Wade were rookies on the Cavs and Heat, Dirk was a perennial MVP candidate. He was leading a Mavericks team featuring the likes of Michael Finley and Steve Nash through the Murderer’s Row of the Western Conference playoffs at that point.
James and Dirk would end up meeting in the Finals only once – smack dab in the middle of the former’s prime. Nowitzki was already 32 bordering on 33 when he reached only his second Finals in 2011.
It was a performance for a lifetime from Dirk – one of the single best postseason runs by any player ever. LeBron, by contrast, became a shell of himself in face of the Mavs’ zone defense and switch-everything scheme.
What’s more, James would also needlessly antagonize Nowitzki by mocking his cough ahead of Game 5. This incident added fuel to the German’s competitive fire and he showed no mercy while closing out the series.
However, it seems that old wounds don’t close so easily.
Dirk Nowitzki appeared to give LeBron James the cold shoulder at the 2019 All-Star Game
Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade shared the final All-Star games of their careers on the floor on opposing teams. LeBron picked the Flash to be his teammate for one last time. Dirk, meanwhile, was on Team Giannis.
Team LeBron took the W in predictable fashion by using a second-half burst from KD to great effect. Their star-studded roster with Kawhi, Harden and Kyrie alongside the 2 best players in the league was not going to lose, after all.
Both Dirk and D-Wade engaged in the usual pleasantries after the game. However, it seemed that Dirk wasn’t all that enamoured when the victorious captain came over to greet him. NBA Twitter took pleasure in pointing this out.
Never forget Dirk completely ignoring Lebron in his last allstar game pic.twitter.com/WaK20DgOrh
— The Hurry Up 🎡 (@thehurryupnba) September 19, 2021
Mf really thought Dirk Nowitzki liked him. 🤣 Dirk respects real ones like Kobe Bryant, not LeFraud James.
— Ball Is Life (@allaboutbballll) September 19, 2021
However one may view James and Dirk, this is one moment of pettiness that was years in the making.