Sportress of Blogitude

Dirk Nowitzki reveals career path had he not played basketball

Dirk Nowitzki will one day end his NBA career as one of the best basketball players of all time and greatest European import ever, but what field would he have gone into had things not worked out for him as well they did?

According to the Dallas Mavericks legend, odds are he would have stayed in Germany and followed in his father’s footsteps if he hadn’t pursued basketball.

“I’d probably be a painter,” Nowitzki told The Athletic’s David Aldridge. “My dad had a painting business growing up, painting houses, and he always wanted me to take over the business. When I was like 14, 15, he had me work a couple of times on vacation.”

Nowitzki, now in his 21st NBA season, presumably has no regrets over how things turned out, but the fact that there was no one to take over his father’s business did have an unfortunate impact.

“It’s hard work. It’s a grind. I was like, ‘Let me try this basketball thing. I’ll come back to you.’ And I never came back to him,” Nowitzki said. “And he, finally, a couple of years ago — my sister didn’t want to do it, either — so he ended up selling it a couple of years ago, which was pretty emotional for the family. Because he’d had it since he was little. And his dad had it.”

Nowitzki is in the midst of a celebrated farewell tour — including being invited to take part in the 3-Point Contest at the All-Star Game — despite having never officially announced he’s retiring, making note of just that last month.

Odds are Nowitzki, 40, will call it quits on a Hall of Fame career at the end of the season, but as he said himself, that’s not guaranteed. That said, it’s interesting to learn how things would have played out for him had he not given basketball a shot all those years ago.