June 26, 2011 Leave a Comment
Dirk Nowitzki is an NBA champion (Finals MVP to boot), a franchise player (having spent his entire career with Dallas), and a class act. In a sense, he represents the antithesis of LeBron James and that’s why most of the world was cheering for him (and not LeBron) earlier this month. We already know this.
What some of you may not know is that Dirk Nowitzki is a Texas Rangers fan. He supports local teams, unlike you guessed it… LeBron James.
LeBron James showed up to a playoff matchup between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians wearing a Yankees cap. This was in 2007, three years before he defected for Miami. LeBron is an admitted lifetime Yankees fan, which is fine since many fans choose to pull for out-of-town teams instead of the home town heroes. Still he didn’t have to demonstrate it in such poor taste. Disclosure: I’m a lifetime Yankees fan too, so this article might be viewed as hypocritical by many of my friends. Still, if I were the face of a sports franchise, I wouldn’t waste any energy reminding my fans that I’m cheering against the team they’re all rooting for in a different sport. It’s just bad business.
Through 20/20 hindsight, we now know LeBron has no loyalty to Cleveland sports or Ohio in general. But at the time, this should have been a tell-tale sign that he likes to rub this disloyalty in everyone’s face. While many fans were disappointed, they were scared to irk their superstar forward for fear of him bolting town. Well, it looks like LeBron had his cake and ate it too. The Yankees lost the series, but LeBron didn’t have to answer any questions for his bombastic act of disrespect toward Cleveland fans. Due to this and other experiences where he faced no consequences for insolent behavior, he felt comfortable staging “The Decision.”
As the model sports citizen, Dirk threw out the opening pitch at yesterday’s Rangers game. Later during a press conference, he confessed to being a die-hard Rangers fan. He even went so far as to say that he was inspired by the Rangers World Series run last fall, and that he commiserated with them comparing their loss to the 2006 Mavs Finals run. Growing up in Germany, I sincerely doubt Dirk had ever touched a baseball before coming stateside. I think the clip below confirms that as he has no idea where the strike zone is and the ball just looks awkwardly tiny in his hands. He threw the ball so high it’s almost as if some one forgot to tell him there’s no backboard in baseball.
He may or may not be a Rangers fan at heart, but he knows how to warm the hearts of his fans, and for that I commend him. Though he is humble, he knows how to draw attention to the right things at the right time. He chose to throw out the first pitch at a time where he was perfectly positioned to capitalize on the affiliation. Exactly one week after the victory parade and one day after the draft, Nowitzki found a non-basketball way to re-enter the local sports headlines. Best of all, he did it the Nowitzki way, letting his action speak louder than words.
(video courtesy of mlb.com)