BETHESDA, Md. -- Martin Kaymer has accomplished a lot in his short career. He won his first major last year at the PGA Championship. He followed that up by helping Europe take back the Ryder Cup. And earlier this year he was ranked No. 1 for eight weeks .
But after the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA championship Sunday night, Kaymer has a new goal -- to meet fellow countryman Dirk Nowitzki.
“What Dirk did last night and the last year, I mean pretty much since he's in America, since '98, I think, I think it's amazing,” Kaymer said. “ He came here with pretty much nothing. He made his way up there like to one of the best players ever in the NBA. I think you should have a lot of respect for that. And I would like to meet him one day and just talk to him a little bit because he's a very nice person. That's the way you want to be as an athlete, I believe.”
The two Germans should have a lot to talk about. Kaymer and Nowitzki are both world-class athletes in sports that are not very popular in their homeland. They're also known for shunning the spotlight and letting their play speak for itself.
“It was funny to see yesterday when they won, you know, two or three seconds before the game was over he left the court, went to the locker room and you know, I think he's not the kind of person, like the very outgoing person -- he’s more enjoying it for himself,” Kaymer said. “And for me he's a big role model. That's the way I am, as well, a little bit. I'm not very outgoing, so I can compare myself a little bit to him. And obviously it was huge for him and I think basketball in Germany, as well. That was the only championship that he hasn't gotten yet. And I hope those things will help to grow sports in my country.”
Since Kaymer won his first major last August at Whistling Straits, he's already seen a difference in media coverage of golf back home.
"Very slowly golf is growing," Kaymer said. "For me it's fantastic, and I really enjoy that. And you have more recognition and it inspires you more, as well."
Asked who is more popular back home, Kaymer, in typical German fashion, deflected the attention away from himself.
"If you asked a hundred people in the street who is Dirk Nowitzki and who is Martin Kaymer, they would know him better than me," Kaymer said. "But I'm working on it."
(Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)