After about a week, Peaster High School German exchange student Piet Bruenger was still wearing a wristband from the Dallas Mavericks basketball game where he met player Dirk Nowitzki.
Bruenger attended the game on Feb. 27 in Dallas with fellow PHS sophomore Preston Casey, who invited Bruenger after the two were talking about their mutual appreciation for the Mavericks.
“I saw on [Casey’s] Instagram story once that he was at a Mavericks game, and I was like talking with him about it,” Bruenger said. “Then next week, he was like, ‘I got tickets, want to come?’ I couldn’t believe it.”
Bruenger brought a German flag with him to get Nowitzki’s attention, he said, and Nowitzki waved at the pair during warm-ups.
Nowitzki was born in Würzburg, Germany.
After the Mavericks won the game against Indiana Pacers, Bruenger and Casey met Nowitzki briefly and took a picture with him.
“I think he’s a great guy,” Bruenger said.
Afterward, Casey and Bruenger were shocked that they had actually met the famed NBA player.
“We talked about it all the way back,” Casey said. “We were like, ‘That was awesome. We met Dirk.’”
Bruenger said he was first introduced to Nowitzki when he was young. He is a fan though he hasn’t been following basketball recently.
“He’s the best German basketball player, and he was in a lot of commercials, but I’ve never watched basketball since maybe like three years ago,” Bruenger said. “In Germany, only soccer is important.”
The Mavericks game was Bruenger’s first time to watch a game inside Dallas’ American Airlines Center. He compared the experience to a concert.
“I was pretty happy that I got the opportunity to go to a Mavericks game and meet Dirk,” Bruenger said. “That’s super cool.”
Bruenger is from a town near Hanover, Germany, and has been in Peaster since September. He returns in July.