Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Author: Alex Tass
Defensive Coordinator Tass writes a send-off letter to his favorite NBA player, "The Big German".
I’d be lying if I said I remembered when the Milwaukee Bucks drafted you with the 9th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. I’d be lying if I said that I remembered that Don Nelson traded for you on draft night to bring you to the Dallas Mavericks with your soon to be best friend Steve Nash. I’d be lying if I said I remembered the first time you checked in at the scorer’s table during your rookie season. But…I’d also be lying if I said that you weren’t my favorite basketball player of all time.
When I was 6 years old, I was lucky enough to attend a Dallas Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center with my dad. In the second quarter, an AAC worker approached my dad and asked if I wanted to participate in a halftime contest. I happily agreed and was brought back to the tunnel with 3 other young boys in a holding area. When the 2nd quarter ended, we were brought on to the court and the 4 of us competed in a dunk contest on a Fisher Price goal (with the Dallas Mavericks’ Dance Team pointing us in the right direction ;)). After we each threw down our less than stellar dunks the event staff let us choose a Mavericks player’s jersey to take home with us. The exact details are hazy but all I remember is that I picked last…and somehow, #41 was still available. To this day, I still consider that the luckiest moment of my life.
So as you get ready to play your last game in the arena that you have called home for 21 years, I just want to say…thank you.
Thank you for everything you’ve done for Dallas, for basketball, for Germany, and for every individual whose life you have touched with your play, your generosity, and your contagious laugh.
Thank you for paving the way for young athletes, especially those from countries outside the United States, and teaching them that hard work, tenacity, and loyalty are the keys to success and that no matter where you are from, what color your skin is, or what language you speak, if you embed those qualities within your life, people will notice.
Thank you for reminding us that even in life’s mountains and valleys we always have to remember to smile and enjoy the moment with those around us.
Thank you for bringing Dallas a championship in 2011 and reminding us that it’s not always about surrounding yourself with the best players, but the right ones.
Thank you for the one-legged fade away.
So, Dirk, The Germanator, The Dunking Deutschman, the GOAT, I’d be lying if I ever said I’d forget you.
Keep being a burger and hittin’ them free throws.