Dallas, The Great Nowitzki and a Basketball-Party in Germany
We celebrate in Germany all week. An incredible story. It is not football (soccer) that brings the world championship title to Germany, but basketball. A turning point?
Basketball was a marginal sport in Germany, but a popular school sport in the 70s. The sports teachers who had studied in Heidelberg, Giessen or Tübingen brought basketball to schools. I liked the game, was fast, dribbling strong and the layup was my specialty. But in the end not tall enough to develop a basketball track after school.
Now to Dirk Nowitzki. My sports core competence is in football (soccer), but I had actually followed Dirk’s path in detail. I’ve been to Dallas regularly since 1998, practically at the same time as Dirk’s move to the NBA in Dallas.
And I had also seen him live. In 2005, when I was at a global manufacturing meeting in Dallas with all the other Celanese plant managers worldwide, I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the evening game that our boss couldn’t use for that evening. I am still grateful to him for that.
The Mavs won the game against Miami Heat, an NBA classic, 105-101 in overtime. My seat was behind the basket, so I was really close to Dirk and the game.
And on June 12, 2011, I was once again on a business trip in Dallas and this time at exactly the right time to experience the boundless enthusiasm in the city when the Mavs won the title. Finally, Dirk Nowitzki was a champion. In the sixth game, he and his team had won 105:95 in Miami. In my mind, a victory of justice against Dirk.
Duplicity of events now, when the world champion team returned from Manila and celebrated in Frankfurt, my hometown today. Not on the balcony of the town hall or on the fan mile, as is usual with the footballers. No, but in front of the building of the main sponsor the party took place. A cultural change as compared to football.
Nowitzki made basketball popular in Germany. The 2023 team led by MVP Dennis Schröder has now brought the world championship title to Germany for the first time. And thanks also go to the sports teachers of the 70s. Because they are an important part of this success story, as well. Thank you, guys.
➡ Football (Soccer) vs Basketball, a turning point of popularity in Germany? What do you think?
My name is Bernd Scharbert and I write about experiences that can be transferred from team sports to business life. If you are interested, feel free to follow me at LinkedIn at hashtags #fussballmeetsbusiness or #Prepare4Landing.