Ahead of this weekend’s NBA Sundays clash between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks, Dennis Schroder spoke on facing ‘one of the best forwards of all time’ in Dirk Nowitzki, on the impact he has had on his career.
Q: What does it mean to face Dirk this coming Sunday?
DS: “It means a lot. He made the basketball community huge in Germany, even internationally. One of the best forwards of all time, he won the championship and he won MVP. Even for the German national team, he won a medal for them [bronze at the 2002 World Cup]. Overall, he’d had an amazing career and we’re going to really enjoy the last one that’s for sure. That’s if it is his last one.”
Q: How much has Dirk’s career had an effect on you?
DS: “When I was young I didn’t follow him that much. I knew he was in the NBA and played in the national team, but I was still young. I was focused on other things but when I got older, I was like, “Oh now I see what he’s doing for Germany and what he’s doing for the league.” From then on, Dirk made me think that I could make it in the league one day. He set a big platform for German players and now we’ve got seven in the league and he’s a big part of it, for sure.”
Q: When did people in Germany realize how great of a player Dirk had become?
DS: “His first two years were rough but then somebody got hurt, then he began starting a lot of games. From that point everyone started respecting him but when he won the championship against Miami, nobody could guard him. That’s when everyone realised he was one of the best. That’s when people knew he was one of the best fours in the league and even of all time.”
NBA Sundays presented by NBA2K19 on Sky Sports – part of a record 42 Primetime games live on Sky Sports starting from 8.30pm every weekend. This week on 31 March the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Dallas Mavericks on Sky Sports Arena from 8:30pm