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Behind the scenes at Mavs Media Day: Dirk Nowitzki remains a class act

On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks held their annual Mavs Media Day at the American Airlines Center. It’s one of my favorite days each season, so here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how it went down this year directly from my point of view.

Behind the scenes at Mavs Media Day: Dirk Nowitzki remains a class act

It’s Mavs Media Day and I’m taking photos and our team is conducting interviews for Dallas Sports Fanatic.

Here’s the plan: Get photos of every single player on the team so we can do player profiles to go along with our interviews. Sometimes things happen, and you can’t get everyone, but be absolutely sure you get the big players. You know Harrison Barnes, DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr, Luka Doncic, etc., and you absolutely make sure you get Dirk. Duh, right?

So, I get there early, I’m set up ready to go.

Suddenly, Media Day kicks off.

My first player: Harrison Barnes. Boom, done.

Next? Dennis Smith Jr. Boom, done.

Man, things are really cooking. I’m really feeling good about things. I look to the left at the station next to me. There’s Dirk. Hells yeah. I take a second to do one check the lighting and camera settings. That f-stop still at 2.8? Okay, yeah we good fam.

One of the members of the Mavs PR team, Scott, looks at me.

“Hey Mike, we’re gonna go here then you’re next.”

Now, let me set this up for you. This is the first day of the season for the 2018-19 Dallas Mavericks. It’s media day and it’s Dirk Nowitzki. He’s surrounded by a sea of media people that all want interviews, photos, a hand shake, whatever they can get. It’s a dog eat world on media day. You gotta go get yours.

Eventually, Dirk disappears into the crowd.

Me in my mind: It’s all good. He’ll be back. Scott’s got me.

So, here comes DeAndre Jordan with a member of the Mavs.

“He’s ready for photos. Are you ready?”

Me in my mind: Wow, DeAndre Jordan really is a Maverick. Man, I still can’t believe what he did a few years ago. And Parsons? Whatever happened to that guy…?

Nevertheless, we took photos and I admit it, DeAndre was cool dude.

Media Day continues. There’s Dirk and Mavs PR Scott.

“Hey Mike, we’re gonna do an NBA TV interview and then were coming to you.”

Me in my mind: I’m pretty sure NBA TV should wait? Don’t they know who we are? We’re Dallas Sports Fanatic. The biggest sports media site in Dallas. NBA TV? Come on really? What do they even do?

Dirk sits down to do his interview with NBA TV and it’s been a good 5-10 minutes.

Me in my mind: It feels like it’s been 3 hours.

Here comes a member of the Mavs with rookie forward Ray Spalding.

“Ready for photos with Ray?”

Me in my mind as I peer over at Dirk still in his interview: Okay, we’ll do this real quick. I mean this dude is named after the basketball (not really).

We take photos. Boom. Quick. We’re done.

Me in my mind: Okay, Dirk’s Interview should be done now.

So, I flip around. Dude is gone. I mean gone gone.

Isn’t he 40? How did he move so fast, it’s like I didn’t even see him?

Me in my mind: Did I just miss my photo opp with the GOAT Dirk for photos for a rookie?

Media day continues. No sign of Dirk anywhere.

Me in my mind: It’s all good. He’ll be back. Scott’s got me.
Media Day starts to slow down. I think I’ve gotten photos with every player, except for Dirk.

I go talk to a fellow colleague, Jererome Miron of USA Today.

Me: Did you get pics of Dirk?
Him: Yep, he was one of the first one’s I got.
Me: I think I missed him because of Spalding?
Him: ?
Me: Yeah man. But he’ll be back right? Maybe someone else missed him as well.
Him: Yeah. Maybe.
Me in my mind: He’s trying to tell me no in the nicest way possible.

So, I ask another fellow photographer. I just need a little bit of hope here.

Me: Did you get Dirk?
Him: Yep, he was one of the first one’s I got.
Me: I missed him because I was getting photos with another player.
Him: Why the (explicit) did you do that? That’s Dirk (explicit) Nowitzki.
Me: I didn’t wanna be disrespectful to…
Him: That’s Dirk (explicit) Nowitzki. Yeah man, he’s not coming back.
Me in my mind: 🤮

So, I wait. And wait and wait. All the other photographers our breaking down their equipment. They’re done for the day.

Me in my mind: Yay, good for y’all. I’m so happy for y’all.
Also me: No, I’m not.

Slightly panicked. I walk upstairs and there another other media company set up outside for photos.

Me: Did y’all get pics with Dirk?
Them: No, were still waiting on him, but haven’t seen him.
Me: There’s hope.

I run into a couple of Mavs employees. Have you seen Dirk? I missed photos with him… the only player I needed to make sure I got… in what is possibility his last year in the NBA…

I get the same story: He’s still here, but he’s really busy. I know he’s got a ton of interviews to do.

So, I wait. It’s been two and a half hours. Still no sign of Dirk.

Me in my mind: But what if he went home? What if he retired? What if… No, just wait it out. It’s all good. He’ll come back. Scott’s got me.

So, we wait and wait and wait.

Then all of sudden… here come’s Dirk with Scott.
Scott: Hey Mike, we’re gonna just go over here and then we will come to you.

NOTICE: You shouldn’t stalk players in order to get photos.
Also me: I stalked Dirk to get photos.

Okay, no not really, but I waited closely nearby to ensure he didn’t leave.

Scott: Hey Mike, we’re gonna just go over here and then we will come to the practice court.
Me: Okay, I’ll go wait at the practice court.
Also me: 🤔

20 minutes later.

Here comes Dirk with Scott! And the Mavs practice court is empty. Just me, Dirk, Scott. And you can tell Dirk is exhausted.

So, I was quick. Two or three portrait shots. A couple of action shots of him dribbling.

Me: Okay Dirk, the last shot I want is of you doing the one-legged fadeaway.
Him: Okay.

Takes one shot into the air.

Me: Okay one more time and we’re done.

Dirk actually shoots it.

Dirk: I missed! I can’t believe it.
Me: I can’t believe you came down here and made sure we got our shots.
Dirk: Of course.

So, we did it. Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.

Huge shout out to Mavs PR Scott and of course Dirk. They did not have to do that and he knew it. We missed the opportunity, but he made sure he came back.

Dirk Nowitzki, without a doubt is the greatest of all-time. Honorable mention to Mavs PR Scott.

Dallas Sports Fanatic owner, credentialed media writer, and photographer covering the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Dallas Wings, FC Dallas and college football

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