by Micah Hart
Dirk Nowitzki hosted a celebrity baseball game for charity over the weekend, and aside from any funds raised for the Heroes Foundation, the best part of it was definitely Charles Barkley holding court in the locker room.
Apparently Chuck, along with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, was in Germany back in the late 90’s, and wound up playing against a teenage Dirk in a game where Nowitzki showed his future promise by dropped (according to Barkley) 50 points or so on Pippen. That was all Barkley needed to know, and he set about trying to “entice” Nowitzki to come play college ball at Auburn. Defenders of the purity of college athletics might want to bury their heads in the sand on this one:
My favorite quote: “That dude is seven feet tall, he’s not going in the damn army, what’s he going to hide behind in the field?”
I tell you what – Chuck may have been right about hanging some banners had Dirk gone to play at Auburn. Nowitzki would have been a freshman on the 1998-99 Tigers squad, a team that featured SEC Player of the Year and All-American Chris Porter (a future Warriors draft pick). Auburn was a #1 seed in the South region of the 1999 NCAA Tournament, but was upset in the Sweet 16 by Ohio State. With a sweet-shooting Nowitzki firing away from the outside to complement Porter’s inside game? Who knows what might have happened.