In case you haven’t noticed, there is greatness on the loose this week.  His name is Dirk Nowitzki, and he may just be the best basketball player on the planet.

Dirk’s team, the Dallas Mavericks, won last night’s game with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and now find themselves headed to the N.B.A. Finals to play for the Championship.

As a former coach, there are a lot of things I like about Dirk as a player.  Many of them relate to leadership.  Here are just a few:

1. Level 5 guy – To use Jim Collin’s definition . . .“Paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.” That defines Dirk.  He never seeks the limelight and yet he has grown into a competitive force.

2. Practice – Every night you can find Dirk in the gym shooting shots with his personal coach.  You would think the best big man shooter in the history of the world wouldn’t need to spend time shooting the same old shots over and over.  But you would be wrong.  His practice is what makes the German 7-footer so great.

3. He makes everyone on his team better.  Great leaders energize their team members.

4. Determination – In 2006, Dirk’s team lost in the N.B.A. Finals when it looked like they would win a Championship.  Many thought the window had closed and Dirk’s opportunity had passed.  Wrong again.  Like every great leader, Dirk’s determination has him positioned once again to accomplish his goal.

5. Longevity – After all these years, Dirk is still fully engaged.  Great leaders stay the course!

I could go on and on.  If you haven’t watched Dirk, you need to tune in next week and see for yourself.

Will the Mavs win a Title?  I don’t know.  But if they don’t, it won’t be because they lack a leader.

Dirk will see to that.



What is your opinion of Dirk?