Dirk Nowitzki Reveals How His Jersey Number Is An Hommage To Charles Barkley


In basketball, jersey numbers often carry personal significance for the players who wear them. For Dirk Nowitzki, one of the greatest European players to grace the NBA, his choice of jersey number was a heartfelt homage to a player he admired growing up: Charles Barkley.

Nowitzki’s journey with his jersey number began in his homeland, Germany, where he first donned the number 14. This was a direct nod to Barkley, who wore the same number during the iconic 1992 Barcelona Olympics as part of the United States Dream Team. The number 14 wasn’t just a random choice; it symbolized Nowitzki’s respect and admiration for Barkley’s prowess on the court.

However, when Nowitzki joined the Dallas Mavericks in 1998, the number 14 was already taken by Robert Pack. Unwilling to part with it, Pack left Nowitzki to find an alternative. In a twist of fate, Nowitzki decided to flip the digits, opting for the number 41 instead. This number would soon become synonymous with Nowitzki’s own legacy, as he carved out a Hall of Fame career with the Mavericks.

The story of Nowitzki’s jersey number came full circle when he appeared on Inside the NBA and shared the tale of how his respect for Barkley influenced his choice. It was a moment that connected past and present, paying tribute to the player who inspired a young German to pursue his dreams in basketball.



Nowitzki’s decision to wear the number 41, while initially a compromise, turned into a defining aspect of his identity as a player. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the stories behind the numbers are as rich and compelling as the careers they represent. Nowitzki’s tribute to Barkley is a testament to the impact that sports idols can have on the lives of those who look up to them, shaping their paths in ways that resonate far beyond the basketball court.

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