A little over two weeks after celebrating his first NBA Championship title, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki returned home to Germany a national hero.
The 33-year-old, voted the Most Valuable Player of the NBA championship series, made his first appearance in Germany 16 days after his team’s triumph and was greeted by a crowd of 3,000 fans at Wuerzburg’s basketball stadium.
But as one season ends all thoughts are on the next or potential lack of one.
For the second time in 12 years the NBA is facing strike action by the players as protracted wage negotiations between the player’s union and owners have yet to be settled.
The possibility of an NBA strike weighed heavily on the basketball superstar’s mind.
“I am 33 years old now and I cannot interrupt my career for a year and then go back to playing at the highest level. So I have to look for alternatives,” he said.
The 1998-99 season witnessed a 204-day lockout which resulted in a 50-game shortened regular season.
The damage this time around is yet unknown, but some believe the entire season could in jeopardy.
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expires on Thursday and the two sides remain far apart.
By Joe Allen