It continues to be an era of NBA superstars jumping ship for either more money, more titles or simply a fresh start. If it’s not the extra coin in the contract, it’s the chance to create another so-called super-team with the ability to win multiple championships.
To start things off a few years back, Kevin Durant left his home with the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the assault in the Bay Area. Helping lead the Golden State Warriors to back-to-back Orange Roundball League titles, it appears that the Warriors are on a path to win four championships in five seasons. Unreal. And as I said in my last piece, the addition of DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins certainly doesn’t help the case for the other 29 teams in the league.
And, of course, LeBron “King” James once again abandoned the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ship to sign the dotted line with Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers. Before I lavish love all over Dirk Nowitzki, the NBA witnessed another significant move via a trade just yesterday among two All-Stars. Kawhi “Enormous Paws” Leonard, formally of the San Antonio Spurs, will now be reaching for new heights with the Toronto Raptors. Raptors’ fans can only hope that Leonard can help the franchise climb to the top of Toronto’s world famous CN Tower. In return, Spurs’ Head Coach Gregg Popovich will now be leading his troops with the raw versatility and game-changing athleticism of DeMar DeRozan.
Okay, what ever happened to loyalty? I’m not sure, but look no farther than one of the all-time greats to ever lace up their sneaks — power forward, Mr. Nowitzki, of the Dallas Mavericks. Drafted No. 9-overall in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, Dirk was immediately traded to the Mavericks. Man, if the Bucks had a mulligan on that decision. Oops.
Since that time, Nowitzki has never donned another jersey other than that of the royal blue, navy blue, silver and black. Certainly not a norm in the NBA or any other professional sport for that matter. Standing 7-foot-0 and weighing in at 245 pounds from Würzburg, Germany, Dirk is as loyal and humble as they come. But his accomplishments on the basketball court would suggest otherwise. How about these accolades? Nowitzki is the first European to start in an All-Star Game, first European to be named NBA MVP (2007), 13-time NBA All-Star, NBA champion and Finals MVP (2011).
Dirk is only the sixth player to reach the 30,000-plus points barrier, and is currently sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 31,187 career points. And Mr. Nowitzki has done all of this while playing for just one franchise. Who doesn’t love that? If you don’t, I think you may very well either have a screw loose or are simply in denial. Did I mention that Dirk is the highest-scoring foreign-born player in Orange Roundball League history? My apologies — he is. Take a look at where Nowitzki lies alongside these NBA giants in total points scored. Wow.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — 38,387 total points
- Karl Malone — 36,928
- Kobe Bryant — 33,643
- Michael Jordan — 32,292
- Wilt Chamberlain — 31,419
- Dirk Nowitzki — 31,187
The 40-year-old will more than likely hang up his sneaks at the end of the 2018-19 season. In my opinion, Nowitzki is the greatest shooting big man the league has ever seen. His patented step back, off one foot, fadeaway jumper with the rainbow arc and gorgeous rotation may never be seen again from the likes of an NBA big. And seven-footers aren’t supposed to be good free-throw shooters. Don’t tell that to Dirk. Averaging 88-percent during his 20-year career, he has been straight cash, money from the charity stripe. How about 21.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the entirety of his career? That’s what Nowitzki has done. Nothing short of remarkable.
I’ll leave you with this thought as No. 41 enters season No. 21 in Dallas. The Mavericks declined Dirk’s $5 million contract option for the the upcoming season. Instead, Nowitzki will stay with Dallas for slightly less than $5 million in 2018-19. He’ll take a small but selfless cut to his pay in order to allow cap space for DeAndre Jordan’s one-year, $24.1 million contract.
Nowitzki not only happens to be the consummate professional, he also happens to be my wife and father-in-laws’ favorite player. And I’m not one for bromances, but I’m most definitely looking forward to seeing Dirk’s luxuriously golden hair illuminate the hardwood one last time.