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How house hunting landed Dirk Nowitzki and Pudge Rodriguez in the Hall of Fame

By Alex Butler

Jan. 20 (UPI) -- They once shared a city and a real estate agent. Now both are locked into their respective Hall of Fame.

Coincidence? Probably. But Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki remembers Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez very fondly.

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"I met Pudge a long, long time ago," Nowitzki said Thursday, after the Mavericks lost 99-95 to the Miami Heat in Miami. "He was with the Texas Rangers, obviously. We actually went house hunting one day together, with the same realtor. He's a great guy. He's a legend in Texas."

That realtor was Jamie Adams of Briggs Freeman Sotherby's International Realty. He gave the duo a tour of the area's luxury homes in the late 1990's. Since then, Adams has sold them multiple properties around the area.

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"You had this 7-foot guy and this 5-foot-11 guy," Adams said. "We were running around looking at properties and we walked into one property where kids were there, and they recognized both of them. By the time we got out, I had to get both of them out of there because there were two kids anyway, one of them had an air hockey table. Dirk didn't like the house but he liked the air hockey table. He was playing air hockey and I said 'come on, we gotta look at some properties.' By the time I got him out of the house, we had about 8 or 10 kids on bicycles. They came running up and wanted their pictures taken and autographs."

Rodriguez, who was elected into the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Wednesday on his first ballot, played for the Rangers from 1991 to 2002. The Mavericks traded for Nowitzki during the 1998 NBA Draft, after the Milwaukee Bucks snagged him with the No. 9 pick. That meant the two owned the Arlington-Dallas-Fort Worth area for five seasons.

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When Rodriguez got the infamous call to come to Cooperstown, a certain German comrade was one of the first friends to acknowledge his greatness.

"[He is] a great player and great catcher," Nowitzki said. "I'm happy for him. He's as good of a guy as he was a player. I was happy to see [him voted in]."

Adams' agency represents the Texas Rangers and is located at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

"We've worked with probably over 300 athletes in the last 30 years," Adams said. "I worked with them two guys and Nolan Ryan. They are probably the three...those guys, by far, are over the top when it comes to doing what's right and being humble. They've always been that way. Dirk has been out here on numerous occasions. I helped set up the first pitch with him during the world series, him and Nolan got to become friends."

"It's really cool to see guys that have reached that level of success and yet they have stayed grounded."

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"Pudge" retired after the 2011 season. He pocketed 311 home runs and hit .296 in 21 seasons, becoming one of the greatest catchers of all time. He was the American League MVP in 1999 and made the All-Star team 14 times. He also snagged 13 Gold Gloves and won a World Series with the 2003 Florida Marlins. Rodriguez, 45, earned 76 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Nowitzki netted a team-high 19 points and grabbed four rebounds Thursday in the Mavericks' loss. He'll suit up again at 8:30 p.m. Friday against the Utah Jazz at the American Airlines Center.

"A lot of guys nowadays and in the last ten years, they don't really understand or don't really care so much about this history of sports," Adams said. "Dirk is not one of those guys. Dirk definitely respects great players, who they are and what they've done. It's because they've reached a level of success where I think they respect each other and Pudge loves basketball. So we've gone to several Mavericks games."

Rodriguez will be officially inducted into Cooperstown on July 30. Nowitzki will also likely be a shoe-in first-ballot inductee. Adams said that he spoke with Mavericks general manager Don Nelson recently and the team plans to bring Rodriguez to the American Airlines Center for a special recognition before an upcoming game.

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