In these times of quarantine and social distancing, people don’t want to make contact with too many other people. So, what do you do if you have car trouble? This was the problem faced by former NBA player Dirk Nowitzki and his Mercedes-Benz Metris. He solved it not by calling AAA or for a tow truck, but by calling a former teammate.
Dirk Nowitzki’s minivan got stuck in the mud
When Dirk Nowitzki got his custom Mercedes-Benz Metris van stuck in the mud in Dallas recently, he decided to send a few texts to Deron Williams, his former teammate, asking him to help pull him out with his Ram truck. In keeping with COVID-19 concerns in the NBA and society at large, Nowitzki even asked Williams first if he was currently in quarantine.
Williams later posted a video about the rescue on Instagram, laughing that you can’t take a minivan off-roading. In the video, the Ram’s towing hitch is seen as well as Nowitzki wiping his muddy sneakers on his van’s muddy tires.
Originally from Germany, Nowitzki played for the Dallas Mavericks for 21 seasons, retiring in 2019. Williams joined him on the Mavericks from 2015 to 2017. At 7-feet tall, Nowitzki may enjoy the space inside a minivan. It’s likely also helpful for driving around with his three children.
Mercedes-Benz Metris van
The Mercedes-Benz Metris is considered a midsize van or a large minivan and is often used by fleets as well as individuals. There are options on the cargo van for either a short wheelbase or a long wheelbase, and the passenger version can seat up to eight people.
The 2020 Metris has a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine, which produces 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a seven-speed transmission. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds and haul up to 2,425 pounds. That’s a whole lot less than the 2020 Ram 1500, which can tow up to 12,750 pounds.
The Mercedes-Benz Metris comes with safety features like crosswind assist, load-adaptive electronic stability program, attention assist, rescue assist, lane-keeping assist, collision prevention assist, blind-spot assist, and a rearview camera.
While it has a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, it’s not compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (though the 2021 Metris will be). The van also has electric sliding doors and active park assist. The 2020 Metris Worker passenger van has a starting price of $31,350, while the 2020 Metris passenger van starts at $35,580.
NBA players driving minivans and other less-expensive vehicles
While people might expect NBA players to drive high-priced luxury vehicles, Nowitzki isn’t the only one driving a minivan or less-expensive vehicle. Jimmy Butler, now with the Miami Heat, talked about his preference for his Toyota minivan in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2017. He also owns a Rolls-Royce and a Cadillac Escalade too though. Butler talked about his unique interests and also his interest in eventually having a family.
In a 2015 article in The San Diego Union-Tribune, Kawhi Leonard said he sold the Chevrolet Malibu he had in college and started driving his even older 1997 Chevrolet Tahoe. He also owns a Porsche. His car choice was motivated by humility since he doesn’t play basketball just for the money.
Even LeBron James, whose car collection includes a Bentley Continental GT, a Ferrari F430 Spider, and a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, among others, has said he was driving a Kia K900 even before he became a Kia luxury ambassador.
While some NBA players use their giant salaries to purchase expensive cars, others, like Dirk Nowitzki, keep driving the same sorts of cars the rest of us use. And some have a foot in both worlds, owning both practical cars and expensive ones.