Dirk Nowitzki is having a blast this summer.
The notoriously laid-back legend has been sharing more of his personality on Twitter as the summer has worn on. Most recently, following the trend set before him by his superstar peers, the German shared an image of one of his most intense workouts yet. (Click to see each full tweet, including the responses.)
Before that, he was politely asking the NBA not to mention how old he turned on June 19…
…and telling basketball video game creators to fix his issues quickly…
…because we all know how well (or not well) he runs…
…but it’s all funny to him.
While on a conference call ahead of Saturday’s NBA Africa Game 2017, Nowitzki reminisced about his wonderful afternoon on the bike, and then revealed his unique approach to social media.
“Oh, man, that bike was awesome,” he said. “I was in Sweden with the kids and we were doing a little biking tour, and I figured I’m gonna count that as a workout and put it on Twitter. But it was just something funny. I didn’t think it was gonna blow up like that.
“I always try to have fun on social networks. I don’t try to take myself too serious. Guys who know me, they know that I always try to have fun. I always try to enjoy my time, and that’s just something fun and the fans loved it, so that was a good time.”
Of course, not everything is all fun and games on the internet. Some people become upset by what they read, some people are rude about what they say, and others still use it to send cryptic messages to or about other people. This has become an epidemic in the NBA, starting with the Clippers’ “Emoji War of 2015,” or whatever people want to call it, and has continued today with media and fans paying extremely close attention to every word and hashtag LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas, and other prominent stars post from their phones, often while on luxurious vacations around the world.
To many, social media is a means of communication, and sometimes you’ve got to be a little less than pleasant in order to get your point across. But to Nowitzki, it’s all about having fun.
Why, specifically, is James a good example of this? Well, last weekend, it just so happened that Mavs forward Harrison Barnes got married in Rhode Island. A few of his teammates joined (Nowitzki couldn’t, as he was overseas), but also in attendance were former teammates of Barnes’, including Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry. Thousands of headlines wrote themselves the next morning when a video surfaced of Curry poking fun at James’ workout dance, all the while Irving, James’ teammate, looking on in stitches. You would’ve thought next season’s NBA Finals were about to start, given the amount of attention that funny 20-second video received. Was it a diss? Does this mean Kyrie is unhappy in Cleveland? Is Steph really a nice guy if he’s making fun of someone else like this? Is LeBron mad?
To Nowitzki, however, the medium is the message. The story isn’t about what happened. It’s only a story because we know it happened.
“I think it’s just all fun. A bunch of years ago, before all the cell phones, nobody ever would have seen it,” Nowitzki said. “It was at Harrison’s wedding. People were having fun. I think sometimes we’re over-hyping these things. We’re here to have fun in this world. I just don’t think there’s any beef there at all. I think Steph was having a good time and that was it. I just think sometimes we’re a little too serious with stuff like that.”
To be clear, this is coming from a guy who posted a picture of himself next to a river on a bicycle with a child’s seat attached to the back, so he’s on one extreme end of the spectrum, for sure. But still: The man’s got a point.
While in South Africa, Nowitzki’s been working out with Mavs assistant Jamahl Mosley as well as coaches and players from other NBA teams, including Portland’s C.J. McCollum.
“We only have four baskets there, so it’s not like all the players that want to work out get their own baskets, so that’s how that came about,” Nowitzki said. “You have to share a little bit. One day, C.J. was sitting there and he was watching, and I think he was waiting for a basket, so I was like ‘hey, just come on in, we’ll shoot together.’ That’s what players do.”
Later, the pair would add Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, and, more notably, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis, who’s drawn comparisons to the German for most of his career and has gone on record saying he’s long hoped to work out with Nowitzki and his coach Holger Geschwindner.
“To me, it’s about having fun, about getting to know some of these guys,” Nowitzki said. “During the regular season, I’m a little I would say unapproachable for other teams. I don’t talk much during games. I don’t really mingle before the games, I don’t really see anybody after games. It’s all business for me.
“So I think stuff like this or stuff like All-Star Games, where I get to know some of these players, is great for me, to share some of the stories, to get to know some of the younger guys, some of the bright new stars. It’s all so fun for me, as well as hopefully for them.”
Based on what Nowitzki shows about his personality on Twitter, how could those young guys who use it way more than him not be having a great time?