Nike Wrote a Charming Storybook About Dirk Nowitzki, Europe’s Top Contribution to the NBA

W+K Amsterdam also brought it to life in video

Dirk Nowitzki of Germany spent 21 years with the Dallas Mavericks and in 2007 was named the league's MVP. Nike
Headshot of David Griner

Nike has long excelled at turning athletes into heroic figures worthy of deification atop Mount Olympus, but perhaps what’s most impressive is the range of ways the brand and agency Wieden + Kennedy have found to tell those epic tales over the decades.

In the newest example, Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam has created a storybook and accompanying video dedicated to German-born NBA star  Dirk Nowitzki, who announced his retirement this month after 21 years with the Dallas Mavericks.

With a limited print run, “The Maverick” tells the story of Nowitzki’s rise from the 1998 draft to his role in helping the Mavs claim their franchise’s first NBA championship in 2011. You could fill a book with Nowitzki’s records and accomplishments—highest-grossing European player ever, longest stint at one team, first European named league MVP, etc.—but instead, Nike and W+K took a more playful and narrative approach:

To highlight Nowitzki’s impact on the sport, the spot was even narrated by fellow NBA legend Steve Nash.

One copy of the book was given to Nowitzki, with 41 others (honoring his No. 41 jersey) going to people who helped shape his career. More copies were to be made available via the Nike app.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
Executive Creative Directors: Eric Quennoy, Mark Bernath
Creative Directors: Evgeny Primachenko, Craig Williams
Art Director: Jeff Lam
Copywriter: Alex Bower
Head of Broadcast Production: Joe Togneri
Broadcast Producer: Cory Chonko, Endy Hedman
Group Account Director: Kathryn Addo
Account Director: Franky Wardell
Account Manager: Fulvio Itagiba
Head of Planning: Martin Wiegel
Planning Director: Stephane Missier
Head of Comms & Digital Strategy: Danielle Pak
Comms Planning Director: Wes Young
Head of Design: Joe Burrin
Studio Director: Lizzie Murray
Lead Motion Designer: Gustav Von Platen
Motion Designers: Lieke Milder, Nils Crompton, Marco van der Vlag
Designer: Steele Bonus
Studio Artist: Noa Rodero
Project Manager: Loes Poot, Caroline Kosse
Business Affairs: Fiona Fan

Illustration/directors: CRCR
RĂ©mi Bastie
Jeremy Pires
Emmanuel Lantam
Bernard Bui
Hanne Galvez
Rachid Guendouze
Xavier Ramonède

Producer: Amanda Stubbs
Junior Producer: Ilona Marcus

Production: Heart & Hustle
Director: Rashad Floyd
Director of Photography: Trinity Webber / Chris Zamoscianyk
Production Manager: Amber Merritt
Executive Producer: Rashad Floyd / Nancy Lichtwardt
Producer: Noah Lichtwardt

Audio Post: Wave Amsterdam
Sound Designer/Mixer: Randall Macdonald

Music: Beatworms
Artist / Title: Cam Ballantyne

Postproduction: Wizz
Colorist: RĂ©mi Nonne
Post Producer: Frederic Gehant

Motion Graphics: Unit Motion Design
Motion Designer: François-Côme du Boistesselin
Motion Designer: Jade Schiff

Print Production: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
Print Producer: Lizzie Murray

Don't miss the Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit and Upfronts, a live virtual experience Nov. 16-19. Gain insights from leading sports figures on how they navigated a year of upsets and transformation and what's in store for the coming year. Register. 

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."