The NBA 75th Anniversary Team member joined Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill to discuss Dwyane Wade & LeBron James’ mocking of Nowitzki’s cold during their championship series.
Dirk joined Yahoo Sports to promote his book “The Great Nowitzki: Basketball and the Meaning of Life”, which will be released on March 15 - buy your copy here.
VINCENT GOODWILL: So you're in the 2011 Finals, and Dwyane Wade and LeBron are walking in. I think it's before Game 4 or maybe Game 5. And they're coughing. They're mocking coughing. You're the one superstar there. You don't have anybody to walk in with and mock them, you know, and put your fingers up not five, not six, not seven. Tell me what that was like for you when you saw that. Because I know you had to see it before the game.
DIRK NOWITZKI: Yeah, we saw it. We saw it actually after Game 5, because it happened, I guess, after shootaround of Game 5. But I didn't see it before that game, and we won Game 5 at home. So we were up 3-2 going back to Miami, and that's when I saw it. And honestly, I just felt like it was a little disrespectful. But it didn't add to my motivation, if that makes sense. I'm one game away from achieving my dream, something I chased for the last 10, 12 years in the league.
And so I think we even addressed it as a team. Hey, let's not focus on this too much. Let's stay locked in on what we want to do. We want to come here. we have to win a road game against a great team in a tough environment. Let's focus on that and that's why, in the press conference on the day of, of Game 6, I felt what I said. I said I felt a little disrespected, and that's really it. I'll leave it at that. It didn't add any extra motivation. And we wanted to win Game 6 to achieve our dream. So that was that, and the rest is history.
VINCENT GOODWILL: So the satisfaction of winning Game 6, the satisfaction of winning in Miami, being that team, where does your relationship with Dwyane Wade stand now? You're both in your 40s. You can't do anything on the floor anymore. Like, when you see each other, what's the energy like?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Well, we just did the All-Star game together. You know, he was doing the broadcasting, and I hopped on the broadcast for a couple of minutes. And I think we're totally fine. I think we're-- there were some stuff said after the '06 Finals on both sides that weren't appreciated by the other side. There were a little frosty times. But honestly, I think we're way, way past that.
I think it's also normal. Not every competitor can be friends, right? I mean, it's just not how it works.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Are you sure? Have you seen today's NBA? Everybody's friends.
DIRK NOWITZKI: You know, I'm old-school, I'm old-school. But I think what is there now is a mutual respect for each other's careers, and what we have done as players. And so we're fine. We're totally fine. We talk now and we see each other and we move on. So I think these days are way past us. And you know, like I said, both the mutual respect is definitely there.