ESPN Dallas recently held court with Dirk Nowitzki. In this series, Nowitzki shares thoughts about his past, present and future.
While there's still expected to be at least a few years left in his career, Dirk Nowitzki has begun to consider what the next stage of his life will bring. While he isn't exactly sure what he'll do when he decides that he can no longer play basketball, he understands it will be hard to hang up his sneakers.
"Basketball has given me so much over my career that I'm sure that I can't just walk away and never do anything with basketball for the rest of my life," Nowitzki said. "That's just not going to happen. It's been my life all the way until I got married and had a kid. It was definitely the biggest thing in my life."
Maybe he has a life in front of the camera.
Former teammate Steve Nash ran a series of documentaries for Grantland titled "The Finish Line." As part of the series, Nash reconnected with Nowitzki near the end of this season, and they reflected on their past as former teammates. Over the years Nowitzki has noticed that Nash has done quite a bit with his own production company. Nowitzki joked that Nash could help him once basketball is over.
"I always told Nash that he's got to get me a job once I'm done," Nowitzki said with a laugh.
Realistically, it wouldn't surprise anyone if Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wanted Nowitzki to stay with the organization in some capacity. We've already seen that former Mavs great player/_/id/242/michael-finley">Michael Finley is a fixture around the team and front office. Cuban already has mentioned it's possible someone such as Jason Terry could return to the organization once he retires.
While something like that always is going to be on the table, Nowitkzi knows he doesn’t have to make a decision now. The biggest thing for him is ensuring that the game he loves remains fun. For him, as long as he's playing and having fun, he still has time to contemplate what his future holds.
One intriguing thought for him is the possibility of coaching.
"Some of the stuff Holger has done with me, I'd love to keep that going," Nowitzki said of his mentor and personal coach, Holger Geschwindner. "Holger mentioned it to me before, 'What you have learned from me, I want you to give to someone else someday.' Maybe I'll do that a little bit later -- individual coaching."
While coaching could theoretically be in his future, Nowitzki doesn't figure to follow in the footsteps of former teammate Jason Kidd, now coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
"I don't think I'll ever be a team coach," Nowitzki said. "I saw with J-Kidd how he's interested in plays and thinking ahead. That doesn't interest me. I don't care how you get me the ball. Just get the ball to me.
"Plays and stuff like that never interested me. It was just the skill level that interested me. I'm sure if I'm a coach one day I'll do what Holger did for me, or what coach [Tim] Grugrich did here for us in the championship year, where you take the younger guys and work out every night. We'll just have to wait and see."
Grugrich was instrumental in aiding the Mavs en route to their title during the 2010-11 season. Known as something of a basketball guru, Cuban hired Grugrich to be an assistant/consultant for the team.
It's becoming a very common trend in today's NBA to have individual coaches work with star players. Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has Tim Grover. And Kobe Bryant at one time had Mike Procopio, who now works as a director of player development for the Mavs.
In addition, centers or low-post players now request to spend time with Hakeem Olajuwon during the summer so he can help work on their game. If Olajuwon can work with the low-post players, it's not out of the realm to see Nowitzki working with the shooters for the next generation.
Nowitzki is known as a gym rat, spending late nights on the court getting up shots or early mornings to do the same thing. Encouraging younger players to take time for extra shots and teaching what Geschwindner taught him could be the perfect transition for Nowitzki when the time comes for him to move to the next stage of his life.
As scouts and general managers travel the world to find the next Dirk to take care of their needs on the court, it wouldn't hurt to have the real Dirk there to guide some of those newcomers through the rigors of the NBA.