Dirk Nowitzki once spoke out about being incredibly disappointed about playing his idol Scottie Pippen for the first time in the NBA
During his time in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki was known as the undisputed nicest person there, and justifiably so.
The man was the very essence of charitable in every sense. He trash-talked of course but made sure he never crossed the line. And most of all, he always made sure to shake hands and commend his opponents for their performance, no matter what the result.
Simply put, you’d have to be really odd to hate him, and really evil for him to dislike you. And while the latter seems impossible for anybody in the NBA, it seems Scottie Pippen managed to get into the category a long time ago.
What spell did he have to cast for this to happen, you ask? Well, let’s get into it.
Dirk Nowitzki thought Scottie Pippen was an ‘arrogant ass’ after they first played in the NBA together
Dirk Nowitzki was taken 9th overall in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks before he was quickly moved on to the Dallas Mavericks. But before all that, the German got the chance to face off against some of the best in the NBA in 1997, during the ‘Hoops Heroes Tour’ by Nike, which took place in Berlin.
While playing against this team, which included the likes of Michael Jordan, and Charles Barkley, Dirk had to take on the task of being guarded by Scottie Pippen during the game. And let’s just say, it didn’t quite go as anyone expected. Here is what the Chuckster had to say about it years later.
“So Dirk is kicking our ass. He’s got like 25 at halftime. And me and Michael are like, ‘Scottie, you gotta pick it up a little bit.’ And he says, ‘Man, I’m gonna lock him down in the second half. I’m gonna lock him down in the second half.’ Dirk finished with like 52.”
Now, many NBA players from that era wouldn’t have hesitated to take that personally. And it seems Pippen was no different.
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) April 10, 2019
After getting drafted, Dirk Nowitzki’s fourth game was against Scottie Pippen’s Rockets. And well, this I how the Mavericks legend remembers it.
“That was my idol really, Scottie Pippen. When I came over at age 20, I think my third NBA game (it was his fourth) was against Scottie Pippen. That was a hammered feeling. You’re standing on the court playing against them; I couldn’t believe it at first. But in the meantime, it’s my fifth year. You have to lose the respect eventually.
That was difficult my first year. All the posters I had all over my bedroom, suddenly I was playing against them, that was crazy. And I was totally disappointed because Scottie Pippen was my idol. That’s an arrogant ass beyond belief.”
Pippen held Dirk to just 8 points during that game. So, you can probably say the Bulls legend was pretty satisfied with his revenge.