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When a teenage Dirk torched Scottie Pippen “Dude, who the hell are you?”


Scottie Pippen was Dirk Nowitzki's idol growing up. Most kids had MJ on the wall; Dirk's room featured No. 33. Growing up in Würzburg, that was as close as Dirk thought he'd ever get to Scottie Pippen. But, according to young Dirk, Pippen was the opposite of what he expected. 

“I was totally disappointed because Scottie Pippen was my idol – that’s an arrogant ass beyond belief.”

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk didn't get into the specifics of Scottie's arrogance, but we may know the story behind it. It goes back to 1997 when no one in the NBA knew who Dirk Nowitzki was. MJ, Pippen, and Barkley led a group of NBA players on a summer tour, and one of their stops was in Germany. One of the guys playing them was a skinny Dirk Nowitzki. 

��And so we go to Germany one time, and I’ve never heard of Dirk — he’s like 18 or 19 years old — and we’re playing, and we’re screwing around because we played exhibitions against those foreign squads. Michael, Scottie, and a bunch of NBA players. Dirk was like 18 and was kicking our ass. He got like 25 in half-time. And me and Michael like, ‘Scottie, you gotta pick it up a little bit.’ He’s like, ‘Man, I’m going to lock him down in the second half.’ Dirk finished with 52.

Charles Barkley

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Knowing what we know about Jordan and Pippen from "The Last Dance," MJ had to have roasted Scottie about this game for a long time. You can imagine Pippen looking at the schedule and seeing Nowitzki was coming up. There was no time for being nice.

After the game, Barkley asked Dirk about his plans and tried to recruit him to Auburn. Sir Charles told Nike executives that “anything he wants, we'll get it done.” Nowitzki explained that Germany has mandatory military service and has to perform his duty before making his next basketball move. 

“I was, like, ‘Dude; you’re not going in the army. You’re 7-feet tall.’ I said, ‘There’s nothing you can do in the army at 7-feet tall.”

Charles Barkley

This is Germany we're talking about. You can be as famous as you want, but the law is the law. From September 1, 1997, to June 30, 1998, Nowitzki did his compulsory military service. Six days before his military service had ended, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Dirk with the 9th pick in the 1998 Draft. The Bundeswehr didn't even cut him some slack and release him a week early to be present at the draft. 

That night, Dirk knew he was getting a plane ticket for Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks pulled off one of the best three-team trades in NBA history and brought Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki to Dallas. 

The rest is history. 

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