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A History of Hair: Dirk Nowitzki (1998-2014)

When you take a look back at Dirk Nowitzki’s long and illustrious career, one can only assume that his game will be revered long after he retires. Whether he was blowing our minds as a 7-footer popping 3s like it was nothing or fading as far back as humanly possible, Dirk always kept us on our toes.

You know what else always kept us on our toes and will no doubt be revered long after he retires?

DIRK NOWITZKI’S HAIR.

According to Wikipedia, hair has great social significance for human beings and can be an official or unofficial indicator of group membership.

That statement is only further proof that Dirk was a true man of the people. He had so many hairstyles, showing us that he was never a part of any ‘group’ (official or unofficial). MAN OF THE PEOPLE, I SAY. Dirk’s hair was long, short, and sometimes even ridiculous. Dirk was an everyman. He was you. He was me. He was our mothers and fathers and uncles and friends. He was everybody.

So let’s take a trip down memory lane and examine a side of Dirk’s game that is often undervalued and under-appreciated – his hairstyle game.  (Shouts to Kirk Henderson for the idea.)

(Editor’s note – Bryan Gutierrez: As Jason approached me about this idea, I instantly said I wanted to join in the discussion. For those who really know me, hair is a pretty big deal for me. I definitely dig creativity and a good head of hair. I can’t grow facial hair, so I definitely see what I can do to make up for that. This has been a subject that has always interested me, so I was glad to hear that Jason was going to tackle this, in his own unique way.)

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DRAFT DAY – THE NICK CARTER PART DOWN THE MIDDLE

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Dirk came into the league ready to show America that he was down with the cool kids. He absolutely looks like he belongs in a boy band, especially with that hoop earring that even MJ would think is too big.

That mid-part is something else – so perfectly separated down the middle. Lawd, it’s like Moses parted his hair for him. What a thing of beauty.

(BG: I would think most people went through this look in the mid-to-late 90s. It just seemed like the move to make if you had medium length hair. To this day, Dirk still gets a lot of crap about this look.)

TOO YOUNG DIRK: THE MIDDLE SCHOOL WINTER FORMAL CUT

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This is when Dirk decided he wanted to look like every person you ever met in middle school. I’m glad he eventually abandoned the gel game because this just doesn’t suit him. I remember I did my hair like this once when I took a girl to see Avril Lavigne. I pushed the hair forward while lifting the perfectly gelled tips as I killed it in a good polo tucked into the khakis. Unfortunately, the girl wore a trucker hat and tank top (AVRIL STYLE), and we never dated again.

And there’s the hoop earring again. Seriously, he looks like he listens to a lot of Eminem and plans on working at a Dave & Busters for the rest of his life… because he gets a sick discount.

(BG: Jason nailed the title here. It’s a look you use when you’re getting ready for formal in middle school. Dirk’s actually cheating HIMSELF by using product. He simply doesn’t need it. Side note: The smile and teeth are something else right here.)

GROWING UP DIRK: THE ‘LEAVE ME ALONE, DAD’

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Dirk started showing the locks of love earlier in his career than I remember. Long hair Dirk is the best kind of Dirk, in my opinion. This is when he started putting his game before his hair. Good on him.

Also, R.I.P. hoop earring.

(BG: This progression in his hair rides shotgun with his ascension as an emerging threat in the league. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I think Dirk would give me an awkward look, not like he doesn’t already, if I asked him if he was channeling the belief in hair length correlating with his vulnerability. #RealSamsonTalk)

FINDING HIMSELF DIRK: THE DUUUUUDE, LET’S GO TO A PHISH CONCERT

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Did Dirk play in flip flops when he had this hair? He looks chill as hell right now. I’m starting to notice that Dirk needs an accessory with his hair. First it was his hoop earring and now it’s this little goatee-like thing or whatever that is.

I feel like he wants to ask me to play hacky sack with him.

(BG: Dirk was trying to experiment with the facial hair. He would finally nail the look later down the road. As for this incarnation, the quasi goatee really doesn’t work. That said, if he wants to throw down in a game of hacky sack, no one is going to say no. If you say no to a game of hacky sack with Dirk, you just don’t believe in having fun. You just have to ensure that if he loses he must have to shave that thing on his chin.)

HUNGRY DIRK: THE ANIMAL

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Dirk looks rough. I like the long hair but it’s not kept well. Plus he added another accessory – that nasty – sweaty – skin-colored – elbow wrap thing. Seriously, couldn’t someone get him a black one? It looked like he wore the same one every game and never washed it.

If Dirk came to my house looking like this, I’d ask if he was okay while secretly texting my wife to call the police.

(BG: The band is a little weird. Unfortunately, he put that on the shelf for a knee sleeve later down the trail – cue the sad trombone. GET RID OF THE MESS ON THE CHIN!)

BUZZED DIRK: THE EDUARDO NAJARA CUT MY HAIR

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Title says it all. Rumor has it Eduardo did this. Dirk looks like a criminal.

(BG: The buzz look is pretty much a trend Dirk followed for several years. He would let it grow for a bit, then he would get the buzz going. It always seemed to work out where he was hitting the hair peak as the end of the season and the playoffs were approaching. He understands the power.)

MATURING DIRK: THE MESSY BEDHEAD MALE VERSION OF ‘THE RACHEL’

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Dirk is out of the rough patch and into the ‘looking like a normal person’ stage of his hair career. The messy look is in, and Dirk knows it. It’s the male version of ‘The Rachel” which was super hot for a while. Also, he finally chopped off the little beard thing. Can we all hold hands and agree that the goatee thing was awful? It was. The light scruff is much better.

Welcome back, Dirk!

(BG: This is pretty much the look we know as the modern Dirk look. It’s not presidential by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a pretty safe look. He does abandon that garbage on his chin. Dirk starts to show some foreshadowing with the little scruff look. Little did he know he would go all caveman a few years down the road.)

RELAPSE DIRK: MID-CAREER CRISIS HAIR

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Hey man, I’m all for being patriotic – except Dirk isn’t being patriotic. He’s just supporting the organization hosting his team and every other team out there. That’s like wearing an NBA t-shirt to a Mavs game or going to a concert for your favorite band and wearing a “I LOVE MUSIC” hat.

I don’t care how ‘once in a lifetime’ the Olympics are, I don’t like this one bit.

(BG: This was a move that someone like Swaggy P would do if he were going to make the Olympic team. Then again, if Nick Young were in the final group that was sent off to the Olympics, we might have bigger problems than his show of patriotism. Bold move, Dirk. He went YOLO here.)

LIVING DIRK: THE WARRIOR

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We’ve finally arrived to perhaps my favorite Dirk hair. That long, surfer dude hair partnered with the headband made Dirk look like a living legend. I’ve never wanted to be anyone as badly as I want to be Dirk in this picture right now. He looks like a hero who just killed a hundred dragons, but also plays the acoustic guitar. The way the curls flow and fall… this hair is the real MVP.

(BG: I have to agree with Jason that this is the look right here. I could go either way with the headband. As someone who has let his hair grow out and attempted to play terrible basketball, a headband could be necessary every once in a while. The hair, though. It’s just fantastic.)

KNOWER OF ALL THINGS DIRK: THE WISE MAN

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Oh man. I have to rethink things because this might be my favorite Dirk hair, even though it reminds me of a time when he played with O.J. Mayo and Mike James. I don’t want to go as far as to say that Dirk looks like Jesus, buuuut he definitely looks like basketball Jesus.

The accessory to this hairstyle is the eyes. They look like they hold a lifetime of wisdom and sorrow. I just want to ask Dirk everything there is to know about everything.

Long Live Dirk Beard.

(BG: This is it. THIS IS IT!!! Those huddled around Dirk chuckled when he said the team would not shave until they got back to .500. It was such a messed up year for the Mavericks, but this was the highlight of it all. #DirkBeard ruled the world. If this was an alternate universe or something, he would have been the NBA equivalent of WWE superstar Daniel Bryan. There’s been times where I tried to subtly suggest he needed to bring this look back. The pleas were always unsuccessful.)

FAMILY MAN DIRK: THE SUIT AND TIE

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Look, we all have to bite the dust and clean up for a loved one sometime and Dirk did this last year. He is a husband and a father and definitely looks the part. I applaud this hairstyle but wouldn’t be upset if he decided to grow a basketball Jesus beard again.

(BG: As I mentioned earlier, this is the safe and natural look. Can’t really get mad about it. Although, he always brings a little glimmer of hope when the scruff starts to come around. Life, or married life, gets in the way and the scruff goes away. Props to his wife for supporting him during the bearded phase. She ultimately got what she wanted when this look became the regular style.)

So that’s all the hair we have time for today. Right, I almost forgot one.

CHAMPIONSHIP DIRK: THE WINNER

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