Here’s A Look Back At The Time Dirk Nowitzki Almost Lost His Cool With A Kid On ‘Punk’d’

Dirk Nowitzki

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By all accounts, Dirk Nowitzki was one of the nicest dudes in the NBA during his time in the league; based on all the stories I’ve read and videos I’ve seen featuring testimony from his teammates, they cannot say enough positive things about the 7-foot Hall of Famer.

His opponents, on the other hand, thought he was a mute— a silent assassin who “Never said two words to anybody” (as detailed by David Lee before becoming teammates with ‘The Germanator”).

However, the people around him knew he lit up whatever room he walked into.

When he came to the US as a teenager, Dirk was a shy kid at first but quickly became a very personable, outgoing guy and teammate. He was known for being a very funny, positive optimistic guy in the locker room who was always looking to make jokes, pull pranks, and set the mood by belting out into song.

Jason Kidd once stated “He thought he was a rapper,” which may have stemmed from the fact Nowitzki learned English with the help of the songs he would constantly belt out while singing, dancing, playing guitar, and making the Mavericks locker room a fun place to be (to prove just how fun he was, Dirk once stepped in front of the camera to do a rendition of”‘Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones).

A fun guy off the court (and one who didn’t let things get to him off of it), Dirk seemed to be a pretty level-headed guy. Even in his epic battles with notorious trash-talker Kevin Garnett, Dirk would take it in stride and let his game do the talking.

No matter what happened on the court, Nowitzki wouldn’t let it affect him. He would have fun with the guys whether they won or lost.

But when he came to the Mavs he was still the new, young, foreign kid and as any good teammate would do, Michael Finley constantly tried to mess with Dirk.

Knowing his teammate was unfamiliar with American culture, Finley would tell Dirk to do things that the German would almost always fall for and get him in some sort of trouble—including the time he expertly set him up with Ashton Kutcher’s help on an episode of Punk’d.

Dirk Nowitzki almost lost it on a kid while getting pranked on Punk’d

Dirk Nowitzki on Punk'd


Plenty of notable names fell victim to Kutcher’s shenanigans during the prank show’s run on MTV, and Nowitzki earned that particular badge of honor thanks to an episode that aired on March 25th, 2005.

The concept was pretty straightforward: Finley lured Dirk to a Los Angeles restaurant where they were enjoying a meal when a kid (played by Rob Pinkston of Ned’s Declassified Survival Guide fame) comes up to the table and asks for an autograph.

At first, it seems like a pretty standard interaction. Although Dirk never fully understood why people would want his autograph, that was just imposter syndrome kicking in, and he gladly signed (as he did so many times before) and went back to the dinner.

However, things took a turn a few minutes later when the kid came back.

I can’t say I have any personal experience with getting asked to sign stuff, but I imagine it’s a pretty cool feeling at the start of your career. With that said, I also imagine the novelty starts to wear off as it becomes a bit of a nuisance, but most athletes will still do what they can to cater to kids knowing it will make their day.

But what happens when one of those kids starts to take advantage of you to the point where they’re mimicking an Autograph Adult who wants you to sign anything and everything they can procure? Well, Kutcher decided to test that theory out on Dirk—and I think he found the limit.

I love this video for a lot of reasons. You can tell Dirk is trying his best to be nice to the kid, but after about the seventh thing, it’s hard to keep his composure. He never gets outwardly mad, but you can tell Dirk is ready to curse this kid out in English, German, Spanish, and whatever other language he can deploy.

My favorite part has to be the mom. As an adult, she should know when to back off, but using her to his advantage, the kid complains to the mom and she doubles down, making Nowitzki feel bad for not signing more. Come on, Dirk…he’s just a boy!

I’m sure Dirk’s retaliation to Finley was even better, but this prank was a classic. It just continues to escalate from a simple napkin to a hat, poster, and a LeBron James jersey. He even demands Dirk write special messages—including “1 of 1″—and I don’t know how the Dallas superstar didn’t lose it.

Then, finally, as management comes by, you would assume they would put an end to this. But instead, Dirk is given a ban from the restaurant for refusing to sign the 17th item.

Just a brilliant job by Kutcher and Finley—and you could tell Dirk couldn’t help but appreciate the effort based on how he reacted after the reveal.