Ahead of the 1998 NBA Draft, Don Nelson and the Dallas Mavericks were adamant on drafting Dirk Nowitzki. However, since the young promising kid from Germany back then was garnering plenty of interest, they had to devise a plan to stop others from stealing him away from them.

With that said, Nelson–who was then the head coach of the Mavs at the time–hid Nowitzki and made sure that he didn't work out for any other team besides them. Of course in return, Dallas committed to draft him in the lottery. The funny thing is Dallas literally hid Dirk, with Nelson noting that the sharpshooter stayed in the basement of his son Donnie Nelson who was serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the team at the time.

Nelson was full of praise for Nowitzki, though, even going as far as to saying that he was the “most unbelievable young player” he has ever seen.

“We scouted Europe more than anybody, really,” Don Nelson told Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. “Donnie got the international team to work out at the YMCA in downtown Dallas. So for a full week, I'm watching Dirk work out. He was the most unbelievable young player I'd ever seen.

“We hid Dirk for several weeks before the draft. We made a commitment that we were going to draft him. We just wanted to keep him from going anywhere else to work out. He was going to be ours. He was happy with that. So he hid for a week in Donnie’s basement.”

It certainly worked out for the best for both Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs. While it took some time, the pairing eventually won the NBA championship together in 2011, cementing Dirk's status as the greatest player ever to wear Dallas' white and blue.

Mavs draft Dirk Nowitzki

In the 1998 NBA Draft, the Mavs had the no. 6 pick. However, instead of taking Nowitzki directly at that spot, they made a flurry of moves to create one of the most promising young duos at the time.

The Mavs worked out a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks who had the no. 9 pick at the time. In the deal, Dallas sent the sixth pick to Milwaukee in exchange for the ninth and 19th picks.

Dallas drafted Robert Taylor for Milwaukee, while the Bucks picked Nowitzki. Furthermore, with the 19th pick, the Mavs got Pat Garrity whom they packaged with Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells and a first-round pick to land Steve Nash.

After that rather surprising trade, as every Mavs fan know, the rest is history. While Nash failed to win a championship with Nowitzki in Dallas, there's no denying that they played one of the most exciting styles of basketball at the time.

As for Nowitzki, he admitted that he had plenty of doubts whether or not he's ready for the NBA. After all, he didn't fit the mold of the traditional back-to-the-basket center that the league had grown to love at that point. In contrast, he's actually skinny. Fortunately, the Mavs had full faith in him.

Thanks to the lockout before the 1998-99 season, Nowitzki had the time to work on his body in Germany to prepare himself for the top professional basketball league in the world.

“It was right after they drafted me that I had the doubts. Should I go to the NBA? I was skinny, I had played second division in Germany. Can I make this jump?” Nowitzki shared. “I talked to Nellie and Donnie. I got to meet Steve and Mike [Finley], and they all assured me, being a young team, we could grow together. So before I left from home, I said I'd come. But I wasn't able to sign a contract because of the lockout, and that worked out kind of perfect for me.

“I got to stay home. I got to train with Holger. I got to play first division in Germany for a couple more months and really developed my body a little more, my game. Then I got the call in late January from Donnie. ‘Hey, the season is on. Get your butt to Dallas!'”

In hindsight, though, Nowitzki couldn't imagine what would have happened to him had a different team drafted him in 1998. The German great admitted that other teams might have pushed him to bulk up and become a traditional center. With that, he considered himself lucky that Nelson and the Mavs took him and believed in the unique aspect of his game.

Nowitzki ended up changing the game of basketball and the power forward position for good. And as he said, it might have not happened had he not gone to the Mavs.

Dirk Nowitzki is now headed to the Hall of Fame, with the induction ceremony scheduled on August 12.