Dirk Nowitzki had an illustrious career that included an NBA championship and 14 All-Star appearances with the Dallas Mavericks. He will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend, and he recently told a story about how when he was a rookie he was sweating unnecessarily — in a very literal sense.
In a recent interview with Rachel Nichols, Nowitzki admitted one of the biggest lessons he learned in the United States was about car air conditioning.
Nowitzki in his rookie year he was only going to be in the country for a few months — due to a lockout shortening the 1998-99 NBA season to 50 games — and leave right after the season was over. He decided it was not worth it to buy a car until his second season in the league, so he opted for a rental instead.
“I was driving it around, it worked great. And of course, the players were always killing me when I drove up to practice or the plane,” he said.
“They all had their fancy cars, their SUVs, and the Hummer was big at the time and I had my little rental car.”
It worked fine for him, until things started heating up off the court.
“And so, we’re getting into April and May because the season was shifted and it was getting hot out,” he said. “It was getting warm already and I’ll come to the games and I’ll be in the lobby sweating… I’m walking in the locker room and I’m sweating a bit and they’re like, ‘Why are you sweating?'”
Nowitzki explained to his teammates that it was really hot outside and the inside of his car was really hot even though he drove with the windows down. At that point, someone went to his car and showed him the A/C button and explained he has to press it in order for cool air to come out.
“I was like, ‘Oh I was wondering how that worked.’ Growing up, the car I had at 18, I didn’t have A/C. Germany doesn’t get that hot, so I did not know about the A/C button. So that was a valuable lesson for sure,” Nowitzki said.
This story Dirk Nowitzki told me on Headliners about his rookie year CRACKED ME UP 😂😂😂 Dirk gets inducted to the @HoopHall this weekend – can’t wait. pic.twitter.com/Cd2H8cs4F3
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) August 10, 2023
The 7-footer from Germany was the ninth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft selected by the Milwaukee Bucks and then traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He made his debut on Feb. 5, 1999, and wrapped up his first season in the league averaging 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 47 games.
Not the worst for a rookie, but Nowitzki would go on to become a Mavericks legend and one of the greatest international stars in NBA history. He finished his career of 21 seasons averaging 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 1,522 regular-season games.
Nowitzki will be a headliner for the Class of 2023, along with other basketball legends such as Pau Gasol, Dwyane Wade, Becky Hammon and Gregg Popovich. The Hall of Fame ceremonies will take place Aug. 11 and 12..