No one can question Dirk Nowitzki’s loyalty and passion for the game. His 21-year career with the same team that drafted him speaks for itself. However, he’s now paying the steep price for it and reveals it has taken something valuable from his family.
Nowitzki can’t play soccer with his kids anymore
Dirk Nowitzki suffered many injuries in his career, but the most crippling would have to be the recurring ankle problems in 2018. According to the German sharpshooter, he’s still reeling from the effects of those injuries and the unintended trade-off for not retiring earlier. He shared some insights in an interview on the "Einfach mal Luppen" podcast hosted by fellow Germans Toni and Felix Kroos.
“My foot is really bad, there are days when I don't move well at all. I'm thinking, have the last two years really been worth it. We haven't achieved anything as a team, that's going through my head a bit. But it's also ‘damn’ difficult to find the right time to end your career.”
Dirk Nowitzki, Einfach mal Luppen
Dirk added he can’t play soccer with his kids anymore, lamenting his decision of not retiring earlier so his injury could heal properly. The loyalty he had shown to the city and fans robbed him of creating beautiful memories with his family and kids. It’s something all great players had to face and accept. The road to greatness is not easy and fast. There have got to be some trade-offs, and it is what it is for Dirk.
Dirk could have retired earlier if he wanted to
When Nowitzki shared that he could have stepped away from the game earlier, 2018 would have been a good year to pull the plug. In 2018, Dallas Mavericks were 14th in the standings and lottery-bound. No one would blame Dirk if he decided to retire that time. After all, superstars deserve a better exit. But he stayed because, according to him, it was a difficult time to walk away.
Nowitzki crawled so the next stars, such as Luka Doncic could run. He paved the way and set an example for young European players on how to make it in the NBA and how to play the game the right way. When Dirk’s kids grow up someday, they will be proud, knowing that their father sacrificed a lot for the greater good, even if that means skipping soccer sessions with them.