Amongst NBA circles, Dirk Nowitzki's trip to the relative wilderness of the Australian outback in 2007 is the stuff of legend. Reeling off a first-round exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in the spring of that year, Dirk jetted to Australia, camping and living out of a modified truck with his personal hoops guru Holger Geschwindner. The two talked basketball -- how could they not? -- but they also got away from the game in a way that allowed Dirk to find a personal focus that has sustained to this day. It was needed, following an MVP season that went horribly awry in just a week's time against Golden State.
So, what happened the offseason before? When Dirk and his teammates lost four straight games to lose the 2006 Finals? Something a little less noble, though probably just as fun. Before the morning after, at least.
"That's the funny thing, I am older now than I was then. I actually think we partied harder in '06 when we lost just to forget about it than we did now. Yeah, we've had some good nights so far, my birthday was in there. In '06, [Jason Terry] picked me up for the party bus almost every day, and we went somewhere just to make us forget and have a good time. We ended up in Vegas after three hard weeks. This year, we've had a couple of good nights, but I'm 33. My body can't recover, so you have to party one day, and the next day you have to be off. You can't go back to back when you're that old. Partying once in a while gets old."
Sounds like somebody's got a case of the "make it go aways."
I can't blame them. That Finals was tough, it was no way to go out, and Dirk and company certainly had the means and luckily the safety net (hiring a driver) to help the rest of June go away in a haze.
Just a reminder to you kids, out there. You're only allowed to do this if you lose four straight games in the NBA Finals, and Jason Terry is your friend. Everything else gets you a glass of warm seltzer water and an early bedtime.