NEW YORK — When Dirk Nowitzki returned to Dallas after a four-game road trip, the Dallas Mavericks star was hoping to see his newest possession waiting for him –- his now famous potato.

“I have never received a potato,” Nowitzki said in his first comments about the strangest thing he has ever received in the mail after Dallas beat Brooklyn on Sunday. “It is something fun, hopefully it is there when I get home. I haven’t seen it yet, we were on the road [when it was sent]. Usually fan mail comes to our office, so I have only seen pictures.”

“You don’t get a potato every day, so it’s awesome.”

Last week, Nowitzki, along with several other NBA players like Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat, Frank Kaminsky of the Charlotte Hornets and Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers received potatoes in the mail with either their photo on it or a message or both. They shared pictures of the potatoes on social media and suddenly the NBA had its newest fad. The spuds also reached the NFL with the Carolina Panthers also receiving a potato.

A Mavericks staffer sent Nowitzki a photo of what came in the mail for him at the team headquarters -– a potato with a picture of him on it. Nowitzki immediately posted the photo on Twitter even though he had not seen it yet in person. Nowitzki’s potato tweet blew up, receiving 120,000 likes while being retweeted 41,000 times.

By comparison, Nowitzki’s previous tweet thanking fans after he joined the rare 30,000-point club earlier this month drew 41,000 likes and 11,000 retweets.

“I didn’t know until now, I guess that is the hot thing to do — send somebody a potato,” Nowitzki said. “It was something incredibly funny, and I thought I’ll share it, and that tweet just went completely viral.”

Players wondered who sent these unique potatoes to them. Potato Parcel was behind the hot potato idea. Co-founders Riad Bekhit and Alex Craig appeared on the reality show “Shark Tank” last year, pitching their Potato Parcel business idea of delivering personalized potatoes for a fee to the business moguls on the show.

One of those successful tycoons was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who laughed at the pitch and said on the show: “It’s just stupid on a stick right?”

Bekhit said on “Shark Tank” that the company had sold over 12,000 potatoes and made $215,000 in sales in its first 13 months. Cuban, though, passed on a chance to invest, and as fate would have it, Nowitzki was the first athlete to tweet that he had received a potato, unknowingly creating hype around Potato Parcel. Bekhit told USA Today that he sent the potato to congratulate Nowitzki for reaching 30,000 career points.

“Oh, I thought it was hysterical,” Cuban told ESPN on Sunday about seeing potatoes show up on the NBA social scene last week. “I didn’t see it as a good investment, but because it is fun and it cracked me up on ‘Shark Tank,’ I loved it.”

Cuban, though, hasn’t changed his mind about Potato Parcel. He thinks the idea of sending a personalized spud is still a dud.

“No, because the issue wasn’t would it be fun. It is kind of like when I did the ‘I Want To Draw A Cat For You’ deal,” explained Cuban, who bought one-third of a company that drew personalized cat cartoons on “Shark Tank.” “The issue was just can it scale? And it is just not scaled behind that.”

Nets center Brook Lopez hadn’t heard of the potato madness until a reporter showed him Nowitzki’s tweet. Suddenly, Lopez wanted a special spud of his own.

“I didn’t get a potato,” Lopez said. “I now feel left out. I didn’t know what it was at first, so I was just like, eh. But when I actually saw the potato [with Nowitzki’s picture on it just now], I thought it was pretty impressive. I felt like it took a lot of time for the people to send them out.”

And Lopez said he wouldn’t put the potato to waste.

“I would definitely put it to use,” the Nets center said. “I don’t know what Dirk or K.D. did with theirs, but I would take a picture, I would have that memento. But then I would make some mashed potatoes. I’d make a good gourmet meal out of it.

“I have a good foodie friend, he made French onion soup for about a day and a half. Apparently, it is a laboring process. So who knows. I might make something very impressive out of it.”

Nowitzki is looking forward to seeing his potato in person.

“I don’t know,” Nowitzki said of what he will do with it. “I will see how it looks.”


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