After winning a title with the Dallas Mavericks last season and being named the NBA Finals' Most Valuable Player, much was made of Dirk Nowitzki's newfound marketability. The German-born forward went from relative unknown (stateside, at least) to untapped resource, a newly recognizable figure whose unconventional on-court style, effusive off-court personality and run of postseason heroics made him a unique product just begging to be sold in exchange for vast fields of green.
Just one problem: Dirk wasn't interested in endorsements, marketing or even having an agent. No, Würzburg's Lloyd Dobler decided he was all set with his lone deal, a pact he'd negotiated with Nike. Perhaps as a thank you for that loyalty, the shoe giant just dropped a special edition bespoke Air Force 1 customized for Nowitzki. The timing of the release is a little weird, what with Dirk's Mavs down 0-2 to the Oklahoma City Thunder and looking like a first-round casualty in this year's playoffs, but the shoes themselves are pretty rad.
The coolest touch, for my money? In place of the silhouette most commonly seen on Nikes — Michael Jordan's iconic Jumpman logo — these come equipped with what the dudes at Chitwood and Hobbs called "The German Jumpman," the outline of Dirk's famed one-leg fadeaway that's been immortalized everywhere from highlight reels to a dude's leg.
According to Nike, the shoes were "inspired by details that symbolize [Dirk's] triumph," including the fadeaway, the Mavericks' colors and the numbers 12.06.11, "the date on which he became world champion." The shoes come in a "Dreambox," a handmade container built out of wood from a basketball court and engraved with the message, "All dreams are crazy until they come true."
Nike documented the shoes' delivery to Dirk by a 19-year-old German fan named Alexander, who won a Facebook contest that earned him the right to trek from Deutschland to Dallas and not only present the kicks, but also play some one-on-one with Nowitzki. Hit the jump for video of their meeting, plus some more shots of the footwear.
Kind of surprised the game looked that one-sided; I figured Alexander would come prepared after traveling all that way. But I guess the willingness to take on all-comers is what makes Dirk such a fighting champion. Bret "The Hitman" Hart would surely be proud.
More views of the shoes:
Hat-tip to High Snobiety.