Coming to the league is a special moment for every NBA player. The same was the case for one of the greatest European players ever to grace the NBA court, Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk, who had a sensational career in the league at one point, of course, had an idol.
For the big man, it was Chicago Bulls superstar Scottie Pippen. Pippen was part of the incredible Chicago Bulls team with Michael Jordan in his prime. Maybe playing for the Bulls ballooned up Pippen's ego because as per Dirk his first meeting with his idol didn't go as he planned at all.
It all started in 1997, when thanks to Nike's Hoop Heroes tour, many big names went to Europe to showcase their talents. While the players impressed people and budding athletes with their skills, NBA scouts made notes of potential players who could shine in the NBA.
Dirk Nowitzki was one of the top names on the list and he further solidified his case in an exhibition game. Playing against the likes of Pippen, Jordan, and Barkley, Dirk went on to score 52 points in the game.
The performance by him didn't sit well with Pippen and he took that personally. When Dirk made his debut in the NBA, Scottie made sure to take revenge on the young European star. Upon playing against his idol, Dirk was left astonished by how arrogant the former Bulls star was.
"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."
Nowitzki definitely didn't hold back while criticizing Pippen. There have been many cases throughout his career when he has given a reply with his performances.
For example, when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade made fun of him during the 2011 NBA Finals, Dirk had an amazing series and ultimately won the first and only NBA title of his career.
As for his relationship with Pippen, we are sure they have talked it out and are on good terms now.