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February 16, 2019

Dirk Nowitzki

Charlotte, North Carolina

DIRK NOWITZKI: Good morning. I'm getting old. This doesn't get old. This is great to be here. Just enjoying the stage one more time. For sure my last, obviously, at an All-Star. So it's been fun. Having some family in town. Having some friends in town. Enjoying some of the festivities. I enjoyed coaching last night and getting to know some of the young stars that are coming up.

So I've had a blast so far and hoping to finish this weekend strong tonight, hopefully making a few shots, and have some fun tomorrow.

Q. So it's your last and Luka's first.
DIRK NOWITZKI: He's been great too. He's been soaking it all in. They're keeping him really busy with appearances left and right, I saw. But he's 19. You don't get tired at 19. So he should be good.

Q. What does it take to get here?
DIRK NOWITZKI: What does it take? Some talent, I guess, and some work ethic and some dedication to what you do and some fun. A little bit of luck here and there. You've got to meet the right people at the right time. I was able to meet a coach when I was 15, 16, who taught me everything I know about the sport. You've got to have a lot of dedication and hard work after that.

Q. Last night you said you were practicing a lot for the Three-Point Contest?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Not a lot. I practiced once. I think it was before the Miami game on Tuesday. It's been a few days. Shooting off the rack is obviously different than catching and shooting in the game, but since I've done it, I don't know, four [five] times, I think, in my career, I should be okay. Hopefully, I mix in a few. They expanded the competition to 10 players now. A lot of great shooters, a lot of great competition.

Should be a blast. Hopefully, I can make a few and maybe get to the final round. That would obviously be my goal. But like I said, there are a lot of great shooters out there. It will be tough.

Q. You have been getting a lot of ovations on the road. Have you been thinking of getting something like this tonight?
DIRK NOWITZKI: The fans have shown me a lot of love already on the road, even though I obviously haven't announced that this is going to be it. I want to see how my body feels the last couple of weeks. If I get to see any improvement, if it's still fun, and I guess we're going to make that decision later.

But the fans have been amazing. I went to some of those East Coast cities where I only go once in the season. Here in Charlotte, actually, it started, and Indy and Boston and New York. Fans gave me standing ovations coming in.

For me, that's still super emotional. As a kid, I came from nowhere in Germany 20 years ago, and now get standing ovations in opposing arenas. That's incredible, and I'm humbled by it. That's something that I'll never forget.

Q. How are you feeling physically?
DIRK NOWITZKI: I'm okay. I had foot surgery this summer, and it took me a while to get going. I had to sit out in September for a couple of weeks. So in the middle of the season, I had to fight back and then try to play at a high level. The beginning was very frustrating, but I feel better now. Hopefully, I can take a few more leaps until the end of the season.

Q. Dirk, this All-Star Weekend is also Michael Jordan's birthday. If you were to give Michael Jordan a birthday gift, what would you give him?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Wow, it's hard to buy something for a guy that can get anything he wants, and he has everything he wants. I don't know. No clue. I can always say I played against Michael Jordan, and I can always say I was in Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game, back in Atlanta, which was a blast. Just to be able to tell my kids, my grandkids one day that I played against the greatest of all time is a pleasure.

Q. What does the future look like in Dallas with Luka and now with Kristaps there?
DIRK NOWITZKI: When we drafted Luka, we didn't really know what to expect. I think he exceeded all our expectations. He's been unbelievable. He's a gamer. He wants the ball in his hands. He's a great playmaker for himself and for others. He's a big shotmaker. So he's been amazing, and not even 20 years old.

I think the Kristaps deal came out of nowhere. I think we're all kind of surprised by it that the Knicks were able to trade, that he was available. But we're obviously hoping to pair those two together for the next decade-plus. They're both really young. They're both amazing talents, and they both have franchise talent. We're hoping that Kristaps will get healthy and we can pair them together for a long, long time.

Q. On international players:
DIRK NOWITZKI: There are a lot of international players in the league now, not only playing, but being franchise players. I think we have 150 international players in this league [108 on 2018-19 opening-night rosters]. Don't quote me on that. But it's tons of them now. It's amazing to watch over the last 20 years how many more have come into the league and have impacts and be franchise players, have an impact on their communities.

The style of play is just great for international players now. The game is open. It's not as physical, like when I got into the league: All the fours and fives are huge and battling under the basket. Now, it's open. Everybody can shoot. Everybody can dribble. Everybody can bring up the ball. We have fives now to shoot threes. The game has just evolved the last two decades tremendously. That plays right into the European players' hands that are skilled and that know how to play.

Q. Dirk, we talked about being on the floor for the Three-Point Contest, and you said they're not going to let you. What did you have to do to get in?
DIRK NOWITZKI: I had to miss a lot of threes. No, it's obviously an honor to shoot the three. Even though this year is not my greatest percentage year, it's an honor to be in and to be with some of the greatest shooters in the world. Hopefully, I can get hot. First round make a few and get confidence in the first couple racks, and then hopefully get in the final. That will be fun. But like I said, they expanded the competition to 10. There are amazing shooters. We'll see how it goes.

Q. On Sunday's All-Star Game:
DIRK NOWITZKI: I can't help much on the defensive end. I'm glad he drafted a defensive team. Hopefully, I can make a three or two. We'll go from there. Obviously, I'm not going to play that much. This is more about the players that were voted here. I'm just here to enjoy, and I'm very appreciative of the opportunity to be on that stage again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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