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'He Thinks He's a Rapper': Dirk Nowitzki's Teammates Share Favorite Stories

Jonathan Abrams@jpdabramsSenior Writer, B/R MagJune 20, 2017

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, left, and teammate Wesley Matthews laugh during pre-game warm up before an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 124-111. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

Dirk Nowitzki told B/R Mag that few opponents talk to him throughout a game. And while he may also take time to warm up to some teammates, he is one of the game's most affable players. We asked some of his teammates for their favorite Dirk moments and memories. Here are the stories they offered:

DALLAS - MAY 8:  (L-R) Nick Van Exel #31 and Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks answers questions to the media at the post game press conference following the victory over the Sacramento Kings in Game two of the Western Conference Semifinals during
Glenn James/Getty Images

Nick Van Exel: He just always used to sing. You were checking into hotels and you see your red light's beeping and you think you got a message from somebody. Next thing you know, you pick it up and check the messages, it's his dumb ass singing on your message with his guitar, some crazy stuff, but that was just him. He was just lighthearted, man. Liked to have fun, man, and treated everybody the same.

Jerry Stackhouse: All those patented Dirk moves, step back, I still say that's my move that he stole from me on my post-up. Everybody is like, "Oh, that's the Dirk move." That's my post-up move that I was killing him with at that time. … The universe thinks it's the Dirk move, but go back to '04 or '05 and watch my post-ups and see what they look like. See that he just adds a little fade to it.

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Jason Kidd: He's a prankster, likes to play a lot of jokes. He thinks he's a rapper. He's a lot of fun. He's one of my favorite teammates.

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Justin Anderson: My rookie year, I didn't do anything for All-Star break. He was like, "You need to take a break and everything." He was going to Mexico. Me and my girl had no clue where we wanted to go. So we finally decided, "Yeah let's go to Mexico. Because he was going, he was like, "Yeah, you can just ride with me." It was just the most generous thing that somebody could ever do. He didn't have to do that. He had his family—his wife and kids and stuff. It was just really nice of him and we were really appreciative.

That just shows his character. He's the most humble dude. He has every right to be a certain way, but he's so humble, it's ridiculous. It's so many things to talk about. I don't have enough time to sit and ponder and tell you which one is the best one. He's a funny dude. He's a people's person, man. You wouldn't expect it from someone who's accomplished as much as he has. You would think they would be so standoffish, but he's not like that at all.

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Brandon Bass: I remember when he started shooting the one-leg fadeaway shot. At one point, he wasn't touching the net. He was making it where he f--kin', no rim at all, barely hitting net. I looked at J.J. Barea one game on the bench like, "Damn, he's not going to even touch the net tonight?" After he made shots, sometimes he made some weird poses that I thought were funny. There's a picture on Google where I'm doing something where I'm kind of holding my shirt, throwing up a three sign. That's something he used to do and that was kind of me mocking him back in practice. 

Kris Humphries: He's funny because when you're in practice with him, you may think that he's not paying attention or something like that, but he knows exactly what's going on all the time. He's one of those guys.

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 16: Dirk Nowitzki #41 celebrates with David Lee #42 of the Dallas Mavericks during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on March 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
Jason Miller/Getty Images

David Lee: I'd been in the league for the better part of a decade and I was like, "This guy has not said two words to anybody." And then I get there and the guy could not have had a better personality. He just really shuts himself off to everybody else's team, but he is freaking hilarious and outgoing. You're talking about a Hall of Fame player, a guy who is arguably one of the best ever.

I get there and ... we're playing Golden State. Coach [Rick Carlisle] said we were going to switch all pick-and-rolls, 1 through 5, and be up on Steph Curry when he comes off. Well, Dirk raises his hand and says, "Are you out of your mind? You think I'm switching on to Steph Curry? No way, I'm going to hedge and get out of the way. There is no way in hell you're putting me in an iso against him."

I just thought, how amazing that is for a guy like Dirk, who has accomplished what he had, to be that kind of self-aware that that's not his strong suit anymore. And everybody in the locker room just started laughing. And Carlisle just looks at him and says, "Oh, OK, you can just hedge then." He actually did switch onto Steph a couple times during the game and did a great job, but Dirk just having a complete lack of ego like that was just something that was really special to me.

LM Otero/Associated Press

Zaza Pachulia: All day, every day, he'd joke. Especially the older he got, his joking skills got better because obviously he can't run and he can't jump anymore on the court. That's why he started talking more. You know, a lot of times, he's complaining about everything. Because his athletic ability is not there now, his complaining ability kicked in.

Last year, there was a moment where after the whistle, he tried to dunk the ball. He hung on the rim. It was so funny. Nobody asked him to jump and try to dunk. [The] official only blew the whistle, so all he had to do was toss the ball back to the official. Suddenly, in the middle of the game, he decides to jump high and dunk the ball. [He missed.] Obviously, it was caught on the cameras. He always has an answer, a response to it. Like, "Yo, that rim was 12 feet high." He tried to make himself look good.

Mike Monroe and Josh Martin contributed to this report.

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