The Great Nowitzki: Basketball and the Meaning of Life

Norton. Mar. 2022. 448p. tr. from German by Shane Anderson. ISBN 9781324003052. $30. SPORTS
The Dallas Mavericks’ seven-foot Dirk Nowitzki could work in the paint and close with his unstoppable fadeaway, then on the next possession effortlessly drill a 25-foot three. This skill set made him one of basketball’s first do-it-all “unicorns.” Add his reliance on a free-thinking personal coach equally versed in arcane basketball statistics and methods, and Nowitzki becomes a pivotal player for the Mavs’ defense, writes novelist Pletzinger (Funeral for a Dog). Nowitzki’s German nationality made him a legend to European fans of the NBA and to the German Pletzinger, whose book is the result of a years-long quest to find what made Nowitzki tick. The biography charts Nowitzki’s career from Bavarian kid, to 2007 NBA MVP, to leader of the 2011 league title Mavericks, to retiree (in 2019, after 21 years in the NBA).
VERDICT Nowitzki’s army of fans will devour this well-crafted account of a great player and a decent human being, and other hoops lovers will come away happy to have better made his acquaintance.
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