HoopsHype.com Interviews

Dirk Nowitzki: "It will be a hard job to survive in the West"
by Jorge Sierra / September 14, 2004

How's been your summer before joining the German team? Have you played or have you stayed away from basketball?

Dirk Nowitzki: First I took some time off. Then I started practicing with my personal coach Holger Geschwindner in Würzburg. After that I spent a week with the German National Team at the beginning of August and played three games against Estonia, Italy and the U.S. Then I went back to practice in Würzburg again and now I'm back with the German National Team to play the qualifiers for next year's European Championship.

How tough was watching the Olympic Games at home knowing that you could have been in Athens?

DN: It was very tough. Imagine, we had beaten Italy two weeks before in Cologne. And they won the silver medal. It's better not to think about our chances had we qualified.

Mark Cuban doesn't like when members of his team play international competitions. Have you had any problem with the Mavs on this occasion about joining the national team?

DN: I think that Mark Cuban is happy that his players want to represent their countries on international level. But of course, he has to take the risk and this is not easy. I'm happy that we always find a solution with Mark and the federation.

How did you take the news that Steve Nash was leaving the team?

DN: This was hard because he is such a good friend of mine.

Were you more disappointed with Nash's decision of leaving the club of Cuban's decision of not trying harder to retain him?

DN: I can understand both decisions. It is a risk to give a 30-year-old player a six-year contract. And on the other side, it is a big opportunity for Steve to make a last big deal. In the end, this is NBA business as usual.

Have you been in touch with Nash lately?

DN: Yes, we talk on the phone. But we do not talk about his new contract. We have a lot of other things to talk about.

Has all this affected your relationship in any way?

DN: No, we will still be good friends.

Did you ever fear you could get traded this summer when the Mavs were talking with the Lakers about Shaq?

DN: I did not have any fear. As I said before, this is business in the NBA and it can happen. You have to be aware of this when you are playing in the NBA.

What do you think about this summer's additions? Let's start with Erick Dampier.

DN: This is a good deal because now we have strength under the basket. This is what this team needed the most.

Jason Terry?

DN: He is a good guard who can score and who fits to our run-and-gun style.

Jerry Stackhouse?

DN: He is a veteran player that knows what he has to do on the court. I hope he makes our team better.

Devin Harris?

DN: I do not know him personally, but I've only heard good things about him.

In which position are the Mavs now compared to what they have been in the last three years?

DN: This is difficult to answer because we have a brand new team. It will be a hard job to survive in the West.

Do you think the Mavs will have a real shot at the title this season?

DN: Of course. This is always my goal, our goal. Otherwise I would leave the floor.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com. Christoph Büker, media officer of the German Basketball Federation, helped conduct the interview.

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