CLEVELAND – When the notion of the NBA inviting him to become a member of this year’s All-Star team first surfaced, Dirk Nowitzki’s first response was to have second thoughts.
“At first I was a little skeptical, of course,” the Dallas Mavericks’ superstar forward said on Saturday morning. “Everybody knows that I’m not a big middle of attention guy – center of attention.
‘But we talked about it and everybody thought it was a great idea.”
On Friday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver named Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Nowitzki as special team roster additions so they can become the 13th member of their respective team in the Feb. 17 All-Star game in Charlotte. Each player will be chosen by either LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo via a third-round draft.
Nowitzki, who has been previously named to 13 All-Star teams, was actually moved by the kind gesture by Silver.
“I was humbled, he said. “It’s very appreciative of the opportunity to play or at least be a part of the major stage with the best athletes in the world.”
It’s going to be a very busy weekend for Nowitzki, but he’s ready for the challenge. The NBA already has announced that he’ll be an honorary coach for the World Team when they play the US Team in the Rising Stars game on Feb. 15.
“It’s going to be fun, Friday the coaching, Saturday competing in the 3-point contest, and then Sunday playing a bit,” Nowitzki said. “I’ll hopefully make it fun and enjoy the weekend.”
Nowitzki then paid homage to Silver, who went out of his way make this happen for Nowitzki and Wade – the latter of whom has already announced that this will be his 16th and final season.
“It’s really sweet, showing, I guess, both of us we did something right over the last couple of 15-20 years, trying to represent the league, our teams, basketball in general the right way,” Nowitzki said. “I’m humbled for this opportunity and I’ll make it fun.”