Dirk Nowitzki was the NBA’s top player in 2007, winning an MVP award with the Mavs. He told commissioner David Stern to give that trophy to someone else after his season ended due to what he called embarrassment.
Dallas won an NBA-best 67 games in the ’06-’07 campaign, but they saw an early exit from the playoffs after being upset by the Warriors. Golden State finished two games over .500 that year.
But while they may have just slipped into the postseason, the Warriors did win 9 of their last 10 games. They kept the momentum going against Dallas, knocking off the league’s top team in the series, 4-2.
The loss sent Nowitzki home early, ending a campaign in which he was named Most Valuable Player. The big man averaged 24.6 points and 8.9 boards a night to best Steve Nash.
That honor was the last thing on Dirk’s mind following his team’s playoff defeat.
In an interview with Rachel Nichols on Showtime’s Headliners, Nowitzki said he told commissioner Stern to give the award to someone else after the disappointing exit.
Nichols asked him about the postseason loss, to which he replied, “I was embarrassed. I let the city and my team down.
“All I wanted to do was go somewhere where nobody knew me and go on vacation or something,” Nowitzki continued. “Then, sure enough, I got the call from the NBA saying, ‘You cannot leave yet. There is a chance you might get the MVP.’
“I remember saying, ‘Just give it to somebody else.’ I was still so hurt. I was still so embarrassed about the situation… All I really wanted to do was be gone.”
He would end up staying to accept that award, though, which he called one of the “most uncomfortable moments of his career.”
Fans were quick to comment on the admission as they posted reactions online.
One person wrote, ” I love Dirk, he’s a very humble guy,” while someone else said, “Nowitzki was built different.”
In the end, Nowitzki is glad he stuck around to accept his award. He said, “Now I look back at the MVP trophy and it’s amazing. It was a great season with a great team.”
Dirk would get an NBA title a few years later to add to his trophy case.