The NBA star and “Jess” — as he refers to his wife during the interview — met in 2010 at a charity event and, according to The Undefeated, Nowitzki was tricked into raising his hand during an auction that resulted in him making a major donation in exchange for a painting by Cuban-born artist Rolando Diaz.
TWO DATES FOR CHARITY
“He also agreed to go on two dates for charity. But he was also hoping to get a real date with a beautiful woman he met that night named Jessica Olsson, who was working at a Dallas art gallery.”
Asked why he fell in love with her, he says: “First, she’s got to be attractive. That’s obviously part of it. And I think we just clicked intellectually. She likes art, she likes sports, she grew up around sports. We both love tennis and we love to travel. We both love kids and family.”
Nowitzki told The Undefeated that he has never experienced any racial comments regarding him and his wife.
“Everybody that’s met my wife has said she’s great with me. So I haven’t heard any of that to my face. I’m sure there’s some people that think of it to themselves,” he says.
As for his future in the NBA, the seven-foot Nowitzki is at the twilight of his career and recently signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks which will see him join Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, as the only players to have played for the same team for 20 seasons.
Everyone seems to have their watches and calendars out trying to see how long Nowitzki still has before he calls it a day.
“I signed on for two more years this summer so we just wait and see how the season goes,” he told Lifestyle.
“Last season for the first time, I almost missed two months with some Achilles problem and hopefully that is behind me and I can play some decent basketball. I am still having fun, hopefully my body can hold up for a few more years and then it is time for the younger guys to take over,” he says.
Nowitzki was part of several top NBA stars who were in South Africa for a one week basketball clinic with more than 80 boys and girls from across Africa. The climax of the visit was an all-star NBA Africa game on August 5.
The NBA stars comprised two sides: “Team Africa”, made up of players of African heritage and “Team World” that was drawn from the US and other areas.
Team Africa, captained by South Sudan-born star Luol Deng ( Los Angeles Lakers) also included Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors), Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers), Thabo Sefolosha (Utah Jazz), Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic) , Clint Capela (Houston Rockets) and Dennis Schroder (Atlanta Hawks).
Nowitzki was the captain of Team World which had DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Kristaps Porzingis (New York Knicks), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors) and CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers).
The Dallas Mavericks star told Lifestyle he was happy to be in South Africa, adding that he had seen a lot of the positives from the basketball programme.
“First time I came in 2009, Gorgui Dieng (Senegalese professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves) was a participant and MVP of the programme. I shook his hand and then I saw him in college and next thing he was in the NBA. This is a fantastic programme and these kids get to learn a lot as they develop their shots, ball handling and understand the game,” says Nowitzki.
He says the future looks bright for the programme and basketball in Africa. “Back in 2009, it was a lot smaller and we played outdoors and now there is a lot of hype around the game and camp and it is really encouraging. I hope some of these kids will get to go on, get an education and hopefully see them in the NBA.”