(via Mavs Moneyball)

Dirk Nowitzki just turned 42 and as usual, we got to remember some of the best stories we learned about him during his career. However, there is always one that stands out the most. When he was 18, when he even hadn’t made it to the NBA, Dirk was already torching legends with his talent.

Charles Barkley, one of the players who went against Dirk at that time, recalled the story of how the German big man was just having it against him, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Ballislife.com shared the video of Barkley talking in the locker room, during a charity softball game, about a handful of NBA vets facing Dirk.

“Michael, Scottie and a bunch of guys..like NBA players. Dirk was like 18,” Barkley said, recollecting his memories from 1997. “So Dirk was kicking our ass. He got like 25 in half-time. And me and Michael like, ‘Scottie you gotta pick it up a little bit.’ He’s like ‘Man, I’m going to lock him down in the second half.’ Dirk finished with 52,” Barkley revealed.

“‘So I was like who the hell are you?’ And he starts talking, and he’s like 18-19. I said ‘Where you gonna play at?’ He says ‘ I have to go into the army.’ I said ‘ Dude you can’t go into the army playing like that.’” Here is what Charles did after learning Dirk had no college offers to help pave his way into the NBA.

“I called Nike and I said, ‘Find out about this kid, tell him I’ll give him everything he wants to go to Auburn!’”

In the end, Nowitzki didn’t attend Auburn and one year later, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, who immediately shipped him to Dallas, where the Mavericks waited for him, the player that would change their story and gave them their first-ever NBA championship. A lot of people tend to overlook Dirk; this is the best way to show people how great he was.