OAKLAND – Very high up the wall right across the hallway from the visitor’s locker room inside Oracle Arena is an obvious hole in the wall.
The hole came compliments of a chair thrown by Dallas Mavericks superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki out of frustration after the No. 1-seeded Mavs were eliminated in six games by the No. 8-seeded Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs. It was the first time a No. 1 seed was eliminated by a No. 8 in NBA history.
And sometime after he got over that devastating loss, Nowitzki actually signed a spot below the hole in the wall.
“I don’t know what (the Warriors) got cooked up for Dirk tonight, but not many superstars would sign that thing the way he signed it,” coach Rick Carlisle said prior to Saturday’s Mavs-Warriors game. “That gives you a good study on what he’s all about.
“(Nowitzki) just been a good sport and allowing somebody else to have a moment like that and giving a nod of respect to it, even though that was a very painful situation.”
The hole in the wall was become so infamous that the Warriors – somehow – plan on taking it to their brand new Chase Center, which opens next fall in San Francisco.
Carlisle said: “I’m interesting to see how they’ll keep that wall and plug it in somewhere else with the hole.”
On Saturday, the Warriors paid tribute to Nowitzki with a video tribute before the second quarter started. By then, Nowitzki already had 10 points and the Mavs led, 37-22.
Meanwhile, Warriors coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that it’s no surprise to him that Nowitzki would let by-gones be by-gones and step out and autograph the wall.
“Dirk is just one of the guys that everybody loves,” Kerr said. “I don’t think you can find anybody in the league who doesn’t love Dirk because not only is he a great player, but how he carries himself and he has a tremendous self-deprecating sense of humor.
“He’s made his mark in so many ways, but I think anybody that knows him — I don’t know him well. But just having known him a little bit, you just appreciate his humility especially given the scope of his career and his talent.”