What makes Dirk Nowitzki such a legend

Interview with NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki: This is my dream team!

SPORT BILD: Mr. Nowitzki, the NBA will resume gaming on July 31st. How did you find the decision to play the championship in a fanless ghost tournament at Disney World in Orlando?

Dirk Nowitzki (42): We are all glad that the sport is back on. Of course, it's not easy for the players to be separated from families for so long. But I believe that in special circumstances you always have to be open and adaptable. If you want to end the season, changes are necessary. In order to reduce the risk of infection, it makes sense to severely restrict travel. I am happy for the players that they can do what they love most again. That they can face the competition again.

How will it feel for the NBA players to play without fans?

When I watch soccer games at the moment, the mood is of course completely different. It will be similar in basketball. As a player, you still have to set your goals and focus fully on what you have set out to do. The motivation has to come even more from you and your team.

How would you have felt to compete in an empty hall?

Certainly not easy. We only played without an audience in training or on courses for the national team. If you hit an important throw and there is no reaction from the hall or the audience, the team has to step in a little bit. The role of the bank will then also be different. She can then push you like the fans would otherwise.

Will the NBA favorites stay the same?

I guess so. For me, the Lakers and Clippers are favorites in the west. To the east, it's Milwaukee.

What role can the Dallas Mavericks, currently number seven in the West, play?

I hope they get off to a good start right away. When Luka (Doncic; d.Red.) and KP (Kristaps Porzingis; d.Red.) Playing together with the Mavs at a high level can do something. They have to find their rhythm, stay fit and get together well and create a good starting position in the few games before the play-offs. If you go into the play-offs on 7 or 8, of course you have an opponent that you don't want to have.

Who do you think is the best player in the world right now?

There are so many good players. LeBron James is once again playing at an incredible level for the Lakers. We haven't even seen Kevin Durant this season. How he moves with his size and what skills he has is incredibly strong. If he's fit, I definitely think he's one of the best in the NBA. James Harden in Houston is also having a huge season.

Speaking of superstars: what's your personal best starting five of all time?

The hardest part is trying to compare players from different generations. The Bill Russell was better than that. Shaq O'Neal was better than that. The game has changed in different eras. That's why I always find it difficult.

Please try it anyway!

My favorite player is Michael Jordan, I would put him on the 2. LeBron on the 1st Kobe on the 3rd Shaq or Tim Duncan on the 5 and Kevin Durant or Larry Bird on the 4. That would be a good line-up!

What surprised you most about the Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance”?

I was a huge Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen fan back then. The Bulls were my team in the 90s. I had already repressed or completely forgotten many details. The friction with management. The relationship with manager Jerry Krause and club owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The stories about Dennis Rodman were incredible. At the time, I hadn't noticed the death of Michael Jordan's father, who was super sad. We all knew that Jordan loves competition so much. But his doggedness and the aggressiveness with which he dealt with his teammates were already very intense.

Jordan provoked his teammates and pushed hard to tease everything out of them. What methods did you use?

When I am asked about leadership or leadership, I always say: I believe that everyone has to find their way. I couldn't have done what Jordan did. It wouldn't have felt like it was me. I'm more of a guy who holds back a lot. I have always tried to lead by example. Always stay positive. To be the first in training and the last to leave the hall. Hard to work. To be there at every game. Sure, you can also try to motivate or inspire other players directly, but my path was clearly different from Michael's. If you are or want to be a leader player, you should be very strong yourself. Otherwise it is not believable, and you will not last long either. At least that was the right way for me.

Can there still be guys like Jordan these days, or would the other players let him play?

There are always leaders who are more aggressive than others. It is difficult to say whether the reaction of other players would be different today. Jordan was the best player of his time and was very successful with his way of leading. For me, one of the strongest scenes in the documentary is asking Jordan if he's a “good guy”. Jordan replies: “I'm the type who wanted to win, who also wanted to get the most out of my teammates. He wanted his teammates to do the best they could. ”He wanted to take them to the next level. He was certainly not always just nice. Then he takes a break and becomes visibly emotional. Strong moment. Of course, times have also changed, everything has become a little more sensitive. His leadership style would probably be a little more offensive today.