Dirk Nowitzki is a former league MVP and ten-time All-Star, he's twenty-third amongst the NBA's all-time scoring leaders (third for active players, with 22,792 career points), and he has the waviest wave of any player in the pros. But his name is foreign and his incessant gape doesn't look very good on posters, and maybe that has something to do with no one really knowing who he is. For when Nowitzki plays basketball, he has the expression of an eight-year-old who has watched too many hours of television.
And we suppose that those are reasons that, as Cheryl Hall reported in the The Dallas Morning News this week, about two-thirds of Americans do not recognize his name:
Nearly two-thirds of American consumers still don't recognize the Mavericks' superstar forward, even after Nowitzki's stellar performance in the Western Conference playoffs, according to consumer feedback compiled by the Marketing Arm for The Dallas Morning News.
The most staggering figure found out from the study, however, is that Nowitzki isn't even the most recognized player on his own team. That honor would go point guard Jason Kidd. 'Nowitzki is practically invisible compared to Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, who is recognized by eight of 10 consumers,' Hall noted in her article. 'Even Mavericks teammate Jason Kidd scores higher, with nearly half of consumers knowing who he is.'
The SportsDay blog in Dallas-Fort Worth calls that a "staggering number, when you consider Dallas is a major media market," and we'd add that it is similarly staggering when you consider that Nowitzki is white, and that he's been the marquee player for a consistently competitive team for more than a decade. But to check that surprise, let's acknowledge that nobody really lines up around the block for a pair of Nike Air Max Spot Ups, and nobody was reading SI cover stories about Nowitzki when he was 18 because at 18 Dirk was putting in his time with DJK Würzburg in Germany. He's also stayed away from domestic disputes and the TV show Cribs.
Perhaps an NBA title (and an MVP award to boot) would do it for Dirk. But as an extra precaution, he may want to consider changing his middle name to Jimmer.
H/T The Basketball Jones.