On Barack Obama’s final day in office, Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki recalls having met the nation’s 44th President
DALLAS — On a lighter note, following the Dallas Mavericks’ 112-107 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz Friday night in the American Airlines Center, Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki took a moment to reminisce on what he described as one of the greatest moments of his life.
While taking questions from reporters, Nowitzki spoke about having met for the first time then-President Barack Obama.
Just before 12 p.m. CST on Friday, the then-most-powerful man on the planet had effectively assumed a label he hadn’t owned since he was elected as the nation’s 44th President in November 2008 — Citizen Barack Obama.
Obama’s two-term Presidential tenure included, among other things, routinely meeting with various college and professional sports teams following their respective championship.
In 2011, the Mavericks entered the NBA Finals as heavy underdogs against the Miami Heat, but managed pull the unthinkable by upending the Heat in six games for their first world championship in franchise history.
Approximately six months later, the Mavs made their post-championship visit to the White House, where Nowitzki, the Finals MVP, stood next to the Larry O’Brien trophy and presented the President with the traditional team championship jersey.
“Well, I was fortunate to meet with the President a couple of times,” Nowitzki said after scoring a season-low three points on 1-of-13 shooting as Dallas dropped its second consecutive game. “Visiting the White House obviously was unbelievable for us after a championship.”
During their visit to the famous address that is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Nowitzki said he was mostly appreciative of how charismatic and accommodating President Obama was to Mavs owner Mark Cuban and the rest of the organization.
“We deserved to go,” Nowitzki said. “(President Obama) was really nice. We got to talk to him a little bit. He was funny.”
Much like Nowitzki was in the locker room on Friday, during which he brought the assembled media to laughs while recalling his very first encounter with the President.
“Obviously, it’s not like we talked foreign affairs,” Dirk, a native German, jokingly said when asked how the conversation went with the President. We talked sports and kept it light.”
It wasn’t long afterward that Nowitzki and President Obama’s paths had crossed again, this time on the soil of the future Hall of Famer’s native country.
“I was able to meet him again,” Nowitzki, an 18-year-old NBA veteran, said. “It was at a dinner in Germany with the Chancellor (Angela Merkel) and I was invited to that.”
Nowitzki’s latest meeting with President Obama took place in a more intimate setting and appeared to have lasted longer than the White House tour the Mavs had earned after spoiling the coming-out-party of Miami’s Big Three that was comprised of superstars LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
“I got to spend some time with him (in Germany),” Nowitzki said. “I was actually sitting at the same table with him. I was fortunate.”
Now that Obama’s two-term limit has all but expired and the nation welcomed President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, Nowitzki said he will be forever grateful of having exchanged pleasantries with the first black President in American history.
Especially the very first time he met Obama, who’s widely known as an avid basketball fan who frequently engages in pickup games.
“That was a great day for all the players and for all the staff to go (to the White House),” Nowitzki said. “That’s obviously a day me and the rest of the guys will remember for the rest of our lives.”
Andre Johnson is Founder, Publisher And Editor-In-Chief of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, call him at 901-690-6587 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.
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