Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest international NBA player of all time and one of the biggest stars in league history.
Although he spent the entirety of his career with the Dallas Mavericks, there was a point where his services seemed to be for sale.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant had always been a big fan of Nowitzki’s, so understandably he tried to recruit the German sharpshooter to L.A. Tales about how close he came to succeeding have floated around for many years now.
Recently, Nowitzki revealed the details of that process.
“I was always a huge Kobe fan,” Nowitzki said.
“If you compare anyone to [Michael] Jordan, he’s the closest as it gets–the way he moves, the way he played the game was basically a copy of it. When he had fourth quarters and games where he’d take over, I would rush home, eat and sit there and watch Kobe play the fourth quarter.
“He reached out to me during free agency, and of course I was honored. I mean that’s Kobe, but I basically told him, ‘Listen, I respect you so much, it would be so much fun to play with you, but you know what I’ve built here in Dallas and everybody’s been super loyal to me.’
“And I think he expected that answer. I think in a way he respected me for that, and I think he wanted me to stay loyal and stay here in team.”
Nowitzki always had immense respect for Bryant. The letter he wrote for him following his passing was telling.
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 20, 2022
Both Nowitzki and Bryant did amazing things for the sport of basketball.
Although they never played together on the Lakers, their places in hoops lore are etched in stone.