Talking about the greatest European players of all time, Dirk Nowitzki is the first name that pops up in most NBA fans' minds. While some might argue that in the future Luka Doncic or Giannis Antetokounmpo might take that title away from him. As of now, Dirk holds that title easily.
When Dirk entered the league, he was just 20 years old and like most upcoming superstars, he too had a favorite team and a player. For him, it was the Chicago Bulls and even on the team; he was a fan of Scottie Pippen.
During that time, the league was just expanding its reach towards the European countries thanks to Nike's Hoop Heroes Tour. In 1997, the stars that were sent included the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Charles Barkley.
The then-19-year-old Nowitzki was getting a lot of attention from NBA scouts for his amazing talent. It was the perfect chance for him to prove his worth to them and he did just that.
In an exhibition game, Nowitzki finished the game with 52 points! Obviously, Pippen and the rest didn't like that. Pippen got his revenge on Dirk a year later when Dirk was in his rookie year and the Mavs played against the Houston Rockets.
This time around, Pippen held Dirk to just eight points. Dirk revealed that he was disappointed in meeting his idol.
"That was my idol really, Scottie Pippen. When I came over at age 20, I think my third NBA game (it was his fourth) was against Scottie Pippen. That was a hammer feeling. You’re standing on the court playing against them; I couldn’t believe it at first. But in the meantime, it’s my fifth year. You have to lose the respect eventually.
“That was difficult my first year. All the posters I had all over my bedroom, suddenly I was playing against them, that was crazy. And I was totally disappointed because Scottie Pippen was my idol. That’s an arrogant a** beyond belief.”
Well, maybe it was that Scottie was channeling his inner MJ, or maybe it was something else. But as per Dirk, Pippen was pretty arrogant.
By now, the two stars probably have a better relationship considering the incident happened more than two decades ago.