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18-year-old Dirk Nowitzki lights up Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for 52 points

Dirk Nowitzki, Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen

Once upon a time, an 18-year-old Dirk Nowitzki dropped 52 points against a team comprised of Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen.

The game happened in 1997 — back when YouTube and other modern forms file sharing and recording were nonexistent. Patrick Cassidy of UPROXX was on a mission of unearthing a video recording of the full game online:

I was borderline obsessed with finding what I considered to be the Holy Grail of basketball footage: video of an 18-year old then-unknown-to-American basketball named Dirk Nowitzki lighting up an NBA all-star team on an exhibition tour in Europe back in 1997. And not just any NBA all-star team; this one featured Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley, among others.

Several clips of the said game have been uploaded, such as the one below. As expected, it’s not in high-definition. But if you need further proof that the game actually did occur and an 18-year-old German lighted up a Hall-of-Fame team, check out Barkley’s narration on what exactly occurred.

Barkley’s storytelling skills might have exaggerated Nowtizki’s performance a little bit. But one thing was consistent among the reports: the 18-year-old German dropped 52 points on an All-Star team filled with players in their prime. Barkley wasn’t able to recruit Nowitzki to Auburn. But he may have influenced several NBA scouts to consider the German kid’s talents. Since a year later, in 1998, Nowitzki was drafted ninth overall by the Dallas Mavericks. And the rest, as they say, is history.