Dirk Nowitzki was one of many German youngsters inspired by the tennis accomplishments of Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, and even though he was a nationally ranked junior in the sport, Nowitzki decided to drop tennis for basketball as a teenager. But what if he hadn’t? Do the Mavericks still trade for Steve Nash, giving the Suns the pick that eventually became Shawn Marion? Does Nowitzki upset one of the current tennis greats and deny them one of their majors? Do we start thinking of LeBron James differently if he wins a championship in Miami immediately instead of falling to Dallas in Year 1?
(OK, no, probably not that last one. LeBron love or hatred cannot be changed by altering the events of the past or future. Science is very clear on this point.)