Mavs From the Past: Dirk Nowitzki

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When you say the name, Dirk Nowitzki, every Dallas Mavericks fan’s ears perk up. Nowitzki’s name is synonymous with the Mavericks franchise and with European basketball. He became the first European player to achieve many of the NBA’s top achievements, such as becoming the first European player to start an All-Star Game, and the first to win the NBA MVP Award. In addition to inspiring a whole generation of future European NBA players. His road to the NBA wasn’t easy, and his first year in the league was even more challenging, but the legacy he left behind was well worth it.

Getting into Basketball

Dirk Nowitzki’s mother was a professional basketball player, while his father was a handball player that represented Germany in international play. He excelled at tennis and became a ranked junior tennis player on the German youth circuit. Nowitzki, however, was tall for his age and other kids made fun of him for it. That became one of the reasons why he stopped playing tennis professionally and instead switched to basketball.

He joined the Deutsche Jugendkraft (DJK) Würzburg sports club near him. There is where he was discovered by Holger Geschwindner, a former German international basketball player. He saw talent and potential in Nowitzki and offered to coach him. After a year of training, Geschwindner asked Nowitzki if he just wanted to be a local hero or play against the best in the world, he chose the latter. Their training sessions became an everyday thing and soon enough Nowitzki was training with DJK Würzburg players. By the time he was 16 years old, he made the DJK basketball team.

DJK Würzburg Years

When Dirk Nowitzki joined DJK Wurzburg, he was used as an outside-scoring forward to utilize his shooting skills, back then it wasn’t as common to see a big man be able to shoot from beyond the arc with ease, as much as it’s seen nowadays. As a Wurzburg player, he grew from being a bench player in his first year to being the team’s leading scorer, helping them get promoted to the next level, and winning MVP of the league in his final season with the team.

Playing Against NBA Talent

That same year, he participated in the Nike Hoops Heroes Tour, where he played against NBA legends like Charles Barkley. Barkley has told stories about the game and how he met Nowitzki for the first time at that event. Nowitzki’s half-time scoring varies according to Barkley’s stories, but it’s always in the mid-20s. According to Barkley’s stories and media sources, it is believed that Nowitzki finished the game with 52 points and dunked on Barkley as well. Barkley was amazed by what the young 18-year-old Nowitzki was able to do, and tried to recruit him to go to Barkley’s alma mater, Auburn University.

The following year, Nowitzki took part in the Nike Hoop Summit. The International Select Team defeated the United States Junior National Select Team,104-99. Nowitzki scored a game-high 33 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and three steals, on his way to leading the International team to victory. He also set an international team record with free throws made, 19. He managed to outplay future NBA players, Rashard Lewis and Al Harrington. Many were impressed with Nowitzki’s shooting ability, ball handling skills, and quickness for a big guy.

Rough Start in the NBA

1998-99 Season

Season Average: 8.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Nowitzki was drafted 9th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1998 NBA Draft. He was traded the same night to the Dallas Mavericks, in a trade that would change the Mavericks’ future and the course of the NBA for years to come. He became the fourth German-born NBA player in history, after former Mavericks Uwe Blab and Detlef Schrempf, who Nowitzki idolized, and former Philadelphia 76er, Christian Welp. Nowitzki also became the only Würzburg player to ever make the NBA.

His first year in the league was the shortened 1998-99 NBA season. Nowitzki had trouble adjusting to the NBA, his biggest weakness being his defense. He also shot 20.6% from beyond the arc, that would be the only time in his career that he would shoot threes under 30%. All that, coupled with the fact that he was drafted ninth overall, put a lot of pressure on him, and he contemplated going back to Germany.

Dallas Big Three Era

1999-00 Season

Season Average: 17.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG

At the turn of the century, Dallas’ Big Three consisting of Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Michael Finley, began to lead the Mavericks into a new era of success. The new era of the Mavericks, also came with a new owner, Mark Cuban. As the new team owner, Cuban did everything he could to improve the team.

Nowitzki significantly improved in his second season. He shot 37.9% from three-point range, something that would become very common for him. His improvements were so significant, that he was named runner-up for the NBA Most Improved Player Award. Nowitzki was also named onto the NBA All-Star Sophomore team and participated in the Three-Point Contest, where he became the tallest player to participate in the competition. The Mavericks finished the season 40-42, that would be their final losing season for a while, after over 10 consecutive years of losing seasons.

2000-01 Season

Season Average: 21.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.2 BPG

The following season, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks finished the season with a winning record, 53-29, for the first time in 11 years. At the end of the season, he was named to the All-NBA Third Team, his first All-NBA appearance in his career, but it certainly wouldn’t be his last

They made the playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference. In the first round of the playoffs, they defeated the Utah Jazz, in five games. In the next round of the playoffs, they got eliminated in five games by their rivals, the San Antonio Spurs.

2001-02 Season

Season Average: 23.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, and 1.0 BPG

The Mavs and Mark Cuban saw a bright future in Dirk Nowitzki, so before the start of the 2001-02 season, they offered him a six-year deal and Nowitzki agreed to stay a Maverick for another six years. Nowitzki was named an All-Star for the first time in his career, many more would follow, and he was named onto the All-NBA Second Team. 

The Mavericks finished the season 57-25 and fourth in their conference. In the first round of the playoffs, they swept the Minnesota Timberwolves, in three games. They again would get eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals, this time by the Sacramento Kings, in five games. 

2002-03 Season

Season Average: 25.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki continued to improve in the following season. Dallas’ Big Three were named co-Western Conference Players of the Month in November 2002. Nowitzki was named to his second All-Star team and his second All-NBA Second Team. 

The Mavericks finished the season with a 60-22 record and third in the Western Conference. In the first round of the playoffs, they defeated the Portland Trailblazers, in seven games. They then defeated the Sacramento Kings, in another grueling seven-game series. The Mavericks’ luck ran out in the Western Conference Finals, when they faced off against their rivals, the San Antonio Spurs, and lost in six games. The turning point of the series came in game 3, when Manu Ginobili collided with Nowitzki’s knee, which caused Nowitzki to miss the rest of the series.

2003-04 Season

Season Average: 21.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.4 BPG

The 2003-04 season was Dallas’ Big Three last chance to get a championship together. Coach Don Nelson moved Dirk Nowitzki to the center spot. In his new role, as a center, Nowitzki gained a few pounds, sacrificed some agility, and focused more on his defense. For the first time in his career, his averages fell. Despite only improving his blocks per game, he still led the team in points per game, rebounds per game, steals per game, and blocks per game. Even though his numbers went down, they were still impressive enough that he was named a 2004 All-Star and to his second All-NBA Third Team.

The team finished 52-30 and as the fifth seed in the West. They weren’t able to make it out of the first round of the playoffs, as they were swiftly eliminated in five games, by the Kings.

In the 2004 offseason, Steve Nash left Dallas and joined the Phoenix Suns as a free agent. In the wake of Nash’s departure, Nowitzki and Michael Finley were left to shoulder the majority of the team’s workload, but Nowitzki wasn’t going to let the pressure get to him, this time around.

Kicking it into another Gear

2004-05 Season

Season Average: 26.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.5 BPG

The 2004-05 season was the beginning of a new era in Dallas as many changes were made, including the resignation of coach Don Nelson. Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki had one of his best seasons up to that point. On December 2, 2004, in an overtime win against the Rockets, Nowitzki scored a career-high 53 points. His impressive season continued the trend of him being named to the All-Star Team, he was also named to his first All-NBA First Team, and finished third in MVP voting, behind Steve Nash and Shaquille O’Neal.

Even with all the changes to the team, the Mavericks still managed to finish 58-24, and fourth in the conference. They won a grueling seven-game series against the Rockets, that finished with a game seven blowout by the Mavericks. In the Western Conference Semifinals, Dallas faced off against a former ally, Nash, and his new team, the Suns. Nash and the Suns defeated Nowitzki and the Mavericks in an upsetting six-game series, that culminated in an overtime loss where Nowitzki couldn’t make any of his shots.

2005-06 Season

Season Average: 26.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Before the 2005-06 season, Michael Finley was waived by the Mavericks, which left Dirk Nowitzki as the lone member left of Dallas’ Big Three. Nowitzki won the 2006 NBA Three-Point Contest, was named an All-Star for the fifth straight year, finished the season as part of the All-NBA First Team, and finished third in MVP voting behind Nash and LeBron James. 

Nowitzki led the Mavericks to a 60-22 win season and fourth in the Western Conference. The Mavs swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. Dallas then battled their biggest rivals, the Spurs, in a grueling seven-game series, where they ultimately came out on top. In the Western Conference Finals, they faced Steve Nash and the Suns again, but this time they defeated them in six games. 

For the first time in the team’s existence, they made the NBA Finals. The Mavs took an early 2-0 lead in the series against their opponents, the Miami Heat. The team then lost the next four games in a row to lose the series in six. To add insult to injury, Miami was celebrating their championship victory on the Mavericks’ home court. Nowitzki shot 20 for 55 in the last three games of the series and most of the criticism went his way.

2006-07 Season

Season Average: 24.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.8 BPG

In the 2006-07 season, Dirk Nowitzki achieved two feats that no other European player had done before. He became the fifth member and first European player to make the 50-40-90 club, when he shot 50.2% from the field, 41.6% from three, and 90.4% from the free throw line. In total, there have only been nine NBA players that have accomplished that difficult achievement. Nowitzki was again named to the All-Star team and he made his first appearance as a starter. He was named to the All-NBA First Team for the third year in a row. Nowitzki was also named MVP for the 2006-07 season, becoming the first European player to win the award. 

The Mavericks finished the season 67-15, a franchise record, and the first seed in the conference. The Warriors devastatingly upset the Mavericks in six games, which marked the first time in NBA history that the No. 8 seed beat the No. 1 seed in a best-of-seven series. In game 6 of the series, Nowitzki only shot 2-13 from the floor and scored eight points. In frustration over the series loss, as well as his un-Dirk-like shooting in the series, he hurled a trashcan at a wall near the visitors’ locker room of Oracle arena, the Warriors’ home arena. A hole was left in the wall from the trashcan’s impact, it stayed there until the Warriors switched arenas, at which point it was moved to the new arena. Nowitzki’s hole in the wall became a part of NBA history.

Breaking Records

2007-08 Season

Season Average: 23.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki continued to be a dominant force in the league, even after his MVP season and upsetting early playoff exit. On February 6, 2008, Nowitzki recorded his first triple-double in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks, when he scored 29 points, grabbed 10 boards, and had 12 assists. A month later, on March 8, 2008, in a game against the New Jersey Nets, Nowitzki became the Mavericks’ all-time leading scorer. He passed Mavericks legend, Rolando Blackman, as the all-time Mavericks points leader, after making his classic fadeaway jumper over Richard Jefferson to score his 16,664th point. Nowitzki continued his streak of being named to the All-Star game and was named to his third All-NBA Second Team.

Halfway through the season, the Mavericks traded for a familiar face to the franchise, Jason Kidd. The Mavericks finished the season 51-31 and were the seventh seed in the Western Conference. The team again faced an early elimination after getting beat in five games by the New Orleans Hornets.

Coach Avery Johnson was promptly fired soon after the playoff loss and Rick Carlisle was hired as the new head coach soon after.

2008-09 Season

Season Average:25.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Ten years into his NBA career, Dirk Nowitzki continued to hold down his leadership role and starting position on the Mavericks. He earned another All-Star appearance, his eighth up to that point, and was named to his fourth and final All-NBA First Team.

Dallas finished as the sixth seed with a 50-32 record. In the first round of the playoffs, the Mavericks defeated their long-time rivals, the Spurs, in five games. Dallas then faced off against the Denver Nuggets in the next round, but they hit the end of their playoff run, after losing the series in five games.

2009-10 Season

Season Average: 25.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki reached another career milestone during the 2009-10 season. On January 13, 2010, Nowitzki reached 20,000 points in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. His 20,000th point came from a baseline jumper over Lamar Odom. He became the 34th NBA player and the first European player to reach the milestone. He was named to his ninth All-Star Game and his second as a starter, along with being named to his fourth All-NBA Second Team.

The team added multiple-time All-Stars Shawn Marion and Caron Butler to improve the rotation and get a step closer to the championship. The team finished off the season 55-27 and second in the Western Conference. They faced off against their rivals, the Spurs, once more, but for the third time in four seasons, they couldn’t make it out of the first round, as they lost the series in six games.

The Championship Season

2010-11 Season

Season Average: 23.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki was a free agent during the 2010 offseason, but the Mavericks didn’t want to lose the face of the franchise, and Nowitzki didn’t want to leave either, so they came to an agreement on a four-year deal that kept him in Dallas.

Nowitzki was mentally on a different level during this season, the Mavericks weren’t viewed as the favorites to win or even make it far into the playoffs, but they were ready to prove everybody wrong. Even though Nowitzki’s numbers began to decrease, he still was dominating his opponents better than ever before. He was named to his 10th consecutive All-Star Game, a feat that not even some other Hall of Fame level players have achieved. He was also named to his fifth All-NBA Second Team.

The Mavericks added the last piece of their championship puzzle when they traded in the offseason for center Tyson Chandler. The Mavericks finished the season as the third seed with a 57-25 record. In the first round of the playoffs, the Mavs defeated the Portland Trailblazers in six games. They then swept the two-time defending champion, the Lakers. Nowitzki and the Mavericks came out on top and won the Western Conference Finals in five games over the Oklahoma City Thunder and their young star trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. In Game 1 of the series, Nowitzki scored 48 points, set an NBA record by making 24 consecutive free throws in a game, and set the record for most free throws in a game without a miss.

Five years after their last trip to the NBA Finals, they met up with a very familiar foe, the Heat. This time around, the Heat consisted of their own Big Three; LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. In the finals, Dallas was considered the biggest underdogs, with Miami heavily favored to win.

It was all hands on deck when it came to the NBA Finals. The Mavericks and the Heat had a grueling six-game series that consisted of constant back-and-forth action. Nowitzki didn’t get out of the series unscathed, in game 1 he tore a tendon in his left middle finger but he didn’t let that stop him. Game 4 of the series was Nowitzki’s famous “Flu Game”, where he scored 21 points and tied the series, after James and Wade mocked him being sick. After five years and six games in the series, Nowitzki and the Mavericks got their revenge on the Heat, when they won the 2011 NBA Championship.

As soon as the buzzer sounded the Mavericks went into full celebration mode, everybody was jumping around celebrating on the court, everybody but one player, Nowitzki. In the final seconds, before the buzzer went off, Nowitzki stormed off the court into the tunnel, and let out all his emotions after trying for 13 years to win the big one. He joined his team on the court shortly after and celebrated on the Heat’s home court, a parallel to what happened five years prior. All the criticism and pressure were lifted off Nowitzki’s shoulders, as he was named Finals MVP, and finally received the trophy that he and his team longed for.

The Post-Championship Years

2011-12 Season

Season Average: 21.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.5 BPG

The next season didn’t start on time since there was a lockout. During the offseason, the Mavs lost a few key players and picked up some replacements in the offseason, to make up for the departing ones. Dirk Nowitzki continued to be the reliable team leader that steered the Mavericks in the right direction. He made his 11th All-Star appearance, was named to his third and final All-NBA Third Team, and received the Naismith Legacy Award

The Mavs finished up the season 36-30 and seventh in the Western Conference. Dallas faced off against the tough core of the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. This time around, however, the Thunder had the Mavericks’ number and they swept them out of the playoffs.

2012-13 Season

Season Average: 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG

The 2012-13 season was a down year for both Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks. He missed out on the beginning of the season after receiving knee surgery, but returned to the lineup on December 23, 2012. He averaged less than 20 PPG for the first time since his second season in the league.

The team floundered while Nowitzki was out, they went 12-15 during his time out. The team finished with a perfect .500 record as they went 41-41 for the season, but they finished 10th in the Western Conference and missed out on the playoffs for the first time since Nowitzki’s second season, ending the team’s 12-year playoff streak.

2013-14 Season 

Season Average:  21.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Both Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks bounced back the following season. On April 8, 2014, in a game against the Utah Jazz, he scored his 26,712th point and claimed the 10th spot on the all-time scoring list, passing Oscar Robertson. He returned to being an All-Star after missing out the previous season.

The Mavericks also improved from the previous year as they went 49-33 in the season and made the playoffs as the eighth seed. In the first round, they faced their nemesis, the Spurs, in a back-and-forth series that ended with the Spurs coming out on top after seven games.

2014-15 Season

Season Average: 17.3 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.4 BPG

During the 2014 offseason, Nowitzki re-signed with the Mavericks for another three years. On November 11, 2014, Nowitzki surpassed Olajuwon as the highest-scoring international player and moved up to ninth in all-time scoring. Throughout the season he surpassed two more NBA greats on the all-time scoring list, Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone. He recorded his 10,000th career rebound on March 24, 2015, in a game against the Mavericks’ biggest foe, the Spurs.

The team managed to make the playoffs again, as the seventh seed with a 50-32 record. They faced the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, but didn’t make it any further, as they got eliminated in five games.

2015-16 Season

Season Average: 18.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG

The 2015-16 season would be the last time that Dirk Nowitzki would be able to take part in the NBA playoffs. On December 23, 2015, Nowitzki passed Shaquille O’Neal on the all-time scoring.

The Mavericks finished the season 42-40 and managed to make the playoffs as the sixth seed. Nowitzki’s final playoff appearance didn’t last long since the Mavericks got eliminated in five games by the Thunder. Nowitzki did however achieve another career milestone in the Mavs series against the Thunder, he passed Elgin Baylor to take the 15th spot on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list.

2016-17 Season

Season Average:  14.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki re-signed with the team during the offseason and achieved the biggest milestone of his career during the 2016-17 season. He missed several games at the beginning of the season due to Achilles tendon issues.

On March 17, 2017, in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Nowitzki scored his historic 30,000th point. With 11 minutes left in the second quarter, he shot his iconic one-legged fadeaway from the baseline, over Larry Nance Jr., and sank the basket to score his 30,000th point. He became the sixth player in NBA history to enter the 30,000-point club and the first international player to do so. He also became the third player to score all 30,000 of his points with the same team, after Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. Nowitzki was voted the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year at the end of the 2016-17 season.

The Mavericks also began to decline with their team leader, the team finished the season 33-49, and completely missed out on the playoffs as they finished as the 11th seed.

2017-2018 Season

Season Average: 12.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.6 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki re-signed with the Mavs during the offseason and continued to be a supportive veteran leader to his teammates. On February 5, 2018, he became the sixth player in NBA history to reach 50,000 career minutes played. On March 17, 2018, he played his 1,463rd game and moved past Kevin Garnett to fifth all-time in career games played. Nowitzki had to have season-ending ankle surgery on April 5, 2018, a surgery that impacted his season debut the following season.

The Mavs finished the season last in the conference with a 24-58 record. This was the team’s worst season in almost 20 years.

Nowitzki’s Final Season

2018-19 Season

Season Average: 7.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki re-signed with the Mavericks for the final time in the 2018 offseason and began his farewell tour, but didn’t announce it would be his final year until the final day before the season ended. He made his season debut on December 13, 2018, after recovering from his ankle surgery. When Nowitzki made his season debut, he set the NBA record for the most seasons played on the same team, 21. He also became the fifth player in NBA history to play 21 seasons, which tied the NBA record. He predominantly came off the bench in his final season. On March 18, 2019, in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Nowitzki passed Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list and finished his career as the sixth-highest scoring player of all time. Nowitzki was named to his 14th and final All-Star game as a special roster addition.

The Mavericks acquired Luka Dončić in a draft night trade to assist Nowitzki in his final season. The arrival of Dončić during Nowitzki’s final season also marked the passing of the franchise torch. Dallas finished the season 14th in the conference with a 33-49 record.

In the final home game of the season, Nowitzki was honored by the Mavericks in an emotional ceremony. Five of Nowitzki’s idols, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp, and Detlef Schrempf, all attended the ceremony and gave emotional speeches praising Nowitzki for everything he did throughout his career. Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle also gave their own emotional speeches explaining how much Nowitzki means to the Mavericks and the city of Dallas.

Nowitzki’s career is one of the most memorable in NBA history, especially for Mavs fans. He finished his NBA career having averaged 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.8 SPG,  0.8 BPG, and 38% from three over 21 years. 

Accolades and Honors

The amount of accolades and honors that Dirk Nowitzki achieved throughout his illustrious career, is something that other basketball players can only dream of. He’s won many awards and honors outside of the NBA including many from his home country of Germany.

Nowitzki’s most crowing achievement is his 31,560 points. Only seven NBA players have scored 30,000 points or more, and all have been Hall of Fame caliber players. He ranks sixth all-time in scoring and is the only international player to reach the 30,000 points milestone.

As far as his accomplishments in the NBA go, his 31,560 points is just the tip of the iceberg. He won the NBA MVP award in 2007, the NBA Championship in 2011, and was Finals MVP the same year. He was a 14-time All-Star and 12-time All-NBA. He made four All-NBA First Teams, five All-NBA Second Teams, and three All-NBA Third Teams. He’s the only player in history to record 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,200 steals, 1,200 blocks and 1,500 three-point field goals. He’s one of nine NBA players to join the 50-40-90 club, having accomplished that achievement during the 2006-07 season. He won the NBA Three-Point Contest in 2006. In early 2022, the Mavericks retired Nowitzki’s No. 41 jersey. Also, in 2022, he was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

Life Outside of Basketball

Nowitzki is married to Jessica Olsson. The couple has three children: a daughter born in 2013, a son born in 2015, and another son born in 2016. In 2019, he started the process to become a U.S. citizen.

In 2019, the street that runs across the American Airlines Center was renamed Nowitzki Way, in his honor.

In 2021, Nowitzki was hired as a special adviser to assist in the search for a new coach and general manager, which would become Jason Kidd and Nico Harrison, respectively.

On January 5, 2022, the Mavericks held a jersey retirement in Nowitzki’s honor. His No. 41 jersey was retired by the organization and raised into the rafters of the American Airlines Center. Cuban then unveiled the design of Nowitzki’s statue, that’s being planned to be placed right outside of the arena to commemorate Nowitzki’s legacy.

Legacy

Not only does Dirk Nowitzki mean a lot to the Mavericks, but also to the city of Dallas. Depending on who you ask, Nowitzki is considered one of, if not the best athlete to have ever played there. He was loyal to one team, the Mavericks, for his entire career, something that is not seen often in sports. He was always humble and showed phenomenal sportsmanship throughout his career, even after the many awards he won and milestones he reached. He inspired children all over the world and showed them if they try hard enough, they can also achieve their dreams. He never had any controversy on or off the court.

Nowitzki was a pioneer for the stretch-four position, there weren’t many, if any big men that shot the three on the regular like he did. As the years passed, more and more big men started shooting from beyond the arc. His iconic one-legged fadeaway is a move that became so well-known that stars of today use it.

Scottie Pippen and Larry Bird described Nowitzki’s career in the best possible way, he played the game the right way and he left the game better than it was when he joined the league. He had a Hall of Fame-caliber career and will be inducted as a first-ballot Hall of Famer when his time comes in 2023. Words can’t express how much Nowitzki means to the city of Dallas, the Mavericks, and every Mavs Fan.



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