Dirk Nowitzki has carried the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals with some absolutely masterful performances, is probably the best European player to ever play in the NBA, and has been one of the league’s best players for years now. But that doesn’t mean many people actually, you know, know who he is. As it turns out, Nowitzki has Arcade Fire-like name recognition, according to Cheryl Hall of the Dallas Morning News (hat tip to Deadspin’s Emma Carmichael):
Nearly two-thirds of American consumers still don’t recognize the Mavericks’ superstar forward, even after Nowitzki’s stellar performance in the Western Conference playoffs, according to consumer feedback compiled by the Marketing Arm for The Dallas Morning News.
The most staggering figure found out from the study, however, is that Nowitzki isn’t even the most recognized player on his own team. That honor would go point guard Jason Kidd. ‘Nowitzki is practically invisible compared to Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, who is recognized by eight of 10 consumers,’ Hall noted in her article. ‘Even Mavericks teammate Jason Kidd scores higher, with nearly half of consumers knowing who he is.’
Maybe a Finals win will help more Americans recognize Nowitzki, but even if he loses, it’s sort of ludicrous that so many Americans don’t know who one of the NBA’s best athletes on the court and best role models off the court is.