Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki opened up to The Undefeated about his interracial marriage and raising biracial children in America. The ESPN-owned platform explores the intersections of race, sports and culture, which made it a natural outlet for the typically extremely private Nowitzki to provide some insight on the most personal aspect of his life: his family.
Nowitzki and his wife, Jessica Olsson, had weddings in 2012 in his native Germany and her native Kenya. In the article, Nowitzki said he’s never considered race or origin an issue.
“Growing up in Germany, we’ve always grown up around all sorts of races,” he said. “I played with the national team where half of my teammates were from Yugoslavia. Color or race for me never really mattered, and that’s also the beauty of sports.
“You’re a team. Same with marriage. You’re a team, and pulling on the same string. You try to make it work and chemistry has got to be there. That is just the way I was raised.”
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that an interracial relationship or marriage can even be seen as a controversial thing, but to many in this country and around the world it can still be met with resistance, which could put the couple in an uncomfortable position. However, the No. 6 all-time scorer in NBA history said his relationship hasn’t been met with anything out of the ordinary. “Everybody that’s met my wife has said she’s great with me,” he told the article’s author, Marc J. Spears.
Nowitzki and Olsson have three children. In the past, the German has said he and his wife hope to raise the children to speak English, German, and Swedish. The parents also plan to spend significant time in the NBA offseason in both Nowitzki’s Germany and Olsson’s Kenya to discover more about their heritage and spend time with all their family members.
“This past summer we stayed (in Kenya) like two weeks,” Nowitzki said. “She’s got uncles, cousins. Her grandmother’s still alive. She’s almost a hundred. It’s a special place for our family. We want our kids to meet some of their cousins, so we try to go down there every summer. Maybe we’ll get a house down there …
“We don’t want them to just grow up [in Dallas]. We were gone for three months this past summer. We want to show them different cultures, different languages so they can grow up, become educated and make educated decisions when they’re older on where they want to live, what they want to do.”
Check out the rest of the article to read more about the traditional Kenyan ceremony they participated in on their wedding day, Nowitzki’s thoughts on raising biracial children in America, and his plans to potentially play in a future exhibition game in Africa.