NBC 5 Photojournalist Noah Bullard shares his memory of working with Dirk Nowitzki over the last two decades. "I can spend all day telling Dirk stories and I'll share this one," Noah said.
"There he is!"
That's how Dirk greets me.
In other words, he doesn't know my name but he knows who I am.
I arrived in Dallas in 1998 and one of my first assignments was to shoot Dirk's arrival at the DFW airport.
Dirk Arrives at AAC for Possible Last Home Game
This is back when you could walk up to the gate.
The latest news from around North Texas.
To my surprise there was about 20 to 30 fans waiting at baggage claim. My first thought was, "How do these people even know he's arriving today?"
Anyway, pulling up in a golf cart was this tall, skinny dude with a hoop earring and 90's hair. Truthfully, his hair was more like '93 than '98 and he was about five years behind in style.
He looked surprised to see fans, too, but he signed autographs with a smile and took pictures with all of them.
He was very shy and with a strong German accent he fought through our TV interviews.
He later grabbed his bags and pushed his SmarteCarte by himself to catch his ride with Donnie Nelson. Innocent times.
I recently shared that story with Dirk and this is how that conversation went.
Dirk: "There he is!"
Noah: "He Dirk, I was going through some old video footage. Do you remember the day you arrived at DFW Airport with all the fans?"
Dirk: "Oh yeah, I saw that video somewhere too. That was some bad hair. I thought it was so cool that all these fans came out to see me. I thought I had a fan base already, BUT I later found out Ross Perot Jr. asked some of his friends and family to go out to the airport and cheer me on to make me feel good." (Perot Jr owned the Mavs at the time)
Noah: (laughing) "Well, you have a huge fan base now."
Dirk: "Ha, ha!"
He then starts to walk off and sees the next guy down the hallway, "There he is!"