Monday, July 25th, 2011 at 5:15 pm  |  35 responses

Dirk Nowitzki: The Most Marketable Player in the NBA

by Sam Riches / sam_riches

Traditionally, when it comes to moving merchandise, the League’s big men have always been overshadowed by the flash and athleticism of the little guys. The sun rises in the East, sets in the West, and big guys can’t sell shoes. But despite this standard way of thinking, Disco Dirk has been named the most marketable player in the NBA.

From Yahoo! Sports:

Forget LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and their sponsorship deals; the NBA’s new most marketable player isn’t interested in truly cashing in on his fame.

Dirk Nowitzki has taken the crown as the most marketable man in pro basketball. The Mavericks star replaced Shaquille O’Neal, who retired.

Nowitzki, a 10-time NBA All-Star, has an N-Score of 132, a whopping 59 percent higher than Kobe Bryant’s 83.

The N-Score measures name and image awareness, appeal and personality attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience and influence, both at the U.S. national and local levels.

Despite the Mavericks star’s popularity, without an agent or business manager, the pride of Wurzburg, Germany, doesn’t seem motivated in cashing in on his profit-making potential.

Nowitzki could be leaving a couple of million dollars on the table annually and maybe more, according to branding experts. He’s got a single endorsement deal with Nike.

‘I always wanted to be a basketball player. Nothing more. Nothing less,’ Nowitzki told Bloomberg. ‘I have never really considered myself to be a ‘brand.’ Sure there are a few things that I wouldn’t mind endorsing and maybe some day it will work out. For now, I am happy with where I am.’

Pretty remarkable stuff when you consider we’re amidst an era marked by athletes tirelessly attempting to build a brand and gain global recognition. It’s refreshing to see one of the most popular individuals in pro sports choosing to focus on improving his game rather than improving his bottom line. Plus he’s probably still really hungover.

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  • DeeDaw

    I think his race has something to do with it.

    Compared to the “old” days of NBA, there aren’t many “white” superstars.

    Contrary to what everyone says, race does play a factor in things.

    Besides the cost to playing, why do you think more blacks/minorities aren’t in the NHL or golf??

    And I am not saying that this is a good or bad thing. Just my observation and opinion! :)

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ 1982

    “The N-Score measures name and image awareness, appeal and personality attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience and influence, both at the U.S. national and local levels.” So basically the N-score is a made up number that has nothing to do with actual sales figures? Ok…sure.

  • irondan21

    I agee with you

  • irondan21


  • http://blogspot.com LLC#12

    Disco Dirk? The gay nickname to end all gay nicknames

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Basically this is Dirk’s like-ability score? If you Put LeBron or Kobe, or Dwight’s face, h*ll even Steve Nash, and you’ll outsell anything you can put Dirk’s name/face on……except maybe German Automobiles….



  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    I’m with nbk on this one. He’s just more likeable amongst more fans. Dude wasn’t even top 15 in jersey sales as of April. A chip isn’t going to all of a sudden move units better than Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Melo, and Rose.

  • shawnkemp4prez

    This is probably the easiest time in NBA history to be a “fan favorite” since everyone in the league is such a douchebucket. Kobe is a douche, LeBron is a joke, so it boils down to either Dirk or the Durantula. Given that people are by nature front-runners, they go with the most recent winner. Probably doesn’t hurt that he’s white either, which is retarded to say but more than likely true, sadly.

  • BostonBaller

    Whatever the score reps it doesn’t matter, the point is that he doesn’t seem to care about the extra duckets…

  • http://ggfhh.com Jukai

    I was wondering if this article was gonna cause a race commotion. It did not disappoint.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    ^You wanne race?

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Who did the research on this at Yahoo sports, an intern?
    Dirk has multiple endorsements back in Germany with financial institutions etc. Yeah it’s refreshing to see that he won’t go all out in the chase for the advertising dough in the US, but he does do more with his image in the Euro-Zone than in his adopted home.

  • T-Money

    One thing the N-Score can’t assess? Moving products. Co-sign 1982, this is a made-up number and Dirk is nowhere near Nike’s top priorities to sell ish.

  • O

    I dare him to market a toothpaste or mouthwash.

  • jamesBond

    Who died and made Disco Dirk the most marketable man in the NBA? Boy you crazy..

  • JBo0M

    Those hats look ill. Thats sum futuristic junk

  • DRob

    Where’s the rim shot…or punch line…???

  • http://Slamonline.com CatKiller

    Nbk why are you so damn annoying? Dirk is the most marketable player internationally just except it and quit beca racist pig bro

  • MikeC.

    This info was on Foxsports.com almost a month ago. Except the Foxsports article was more in-depth and went on the explain more about why Dirk declines most endorsements and why he endorses the limited products that he does lend his name to.

  • T-Money

    Catkiller: in which nations? Even germany may be pushing it. Dirk is more popular than kobe or lebron in spain, uk, china, france? Please.

  • whooo!

    apparently the N-score is a poll done by Nielson, that represents what the general public perceives of a player. it seems to be more of a mix of whether or not the general public knows who the player is, and whether they seem like “likeable” people, because check this top-10 list (in order): Dirk, Kobe, Nash, KG, Duncan, Kidd, Grant Hill, D-Rose, Pau, VC. that’s a lotta old guys, which may make sense cuz the average american has had time to absorb who they are. but this definitely can’t be considered “most marketable”. last year’s top 10 included Shaq, Wade, and LeBron.

  • EJ

    I didn’t know marketable meant likable.
    MikeC, it’s FOXsports, so you know they’re just gonna say it’s somebody white.

  • Yesse

    Really? Disco Dirk? That’s the corniest nickname ever, lmao.

  • matt the jazz fan

    I wonder who the *least* marketable player is?
    (let’s say the least marketable All-star, I’m not counting 10-day NBDL call-ups).
    David West?

  • S_kemp

    ya us germans are funky, do you wanna make a party? we listen to the hippity hop ya!

  • Sizzle

    Dirk winning the chip this year is equal to someone having 15 mins of fame. A short lived high time followed by a sleepy numbness…

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    So basically the N-Score is to real dollar value what the PER is to predicting championships.
    Sounds legit, then.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    Also – racism and homophobia all over this thread. Stay classy, Slam.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Dirk can’t sell jersey’s, ran off floor to cry like a baby, because of previous choke jobs, he is not marketable at all. What was N-score last year, it will go down after he proves he is a joke next year. Also race does play a factor,but I will not go there. Kobe is the most popular NBA player and MJ is with him. Dirk needs to stay in Germany and sell goat cheese. BOOK IT!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    catkiller shut up nbk’s right… this is entirely made up.

  • rikson

    ran off floor to cry like a baby, because of previous choke jobs… you gotta be joking! the guy was happy, give him a break, rambo jr!

  • EJ

    Kobe is the most popular basketball player currently, but Seed doesn’t really seem to like anybody but Kobe.

  • http://slamonline.com Mars

    Good OLE’ Humble pie. That’s why he’s got a ring, and not LeBron or Melo.
    Basketball player, that’s what he always wanted. Hard not to like a guy who thinks like this.

  • Chukaz

    between his fans in the US and China, kobe practically owns the world