There is so much going on right now in the NBA, seriously. Trade rumors are flying, the Raptors blew out the warriors without Kawhi Leonard, and the Celtics beat Wizards, even with John Wall scoring 34 points and 13 assists.
However, as much as I want to gloat about the Celtics or the Raptors, I’d love to devote an article to a classic player: Dirk Nowitzki. He has been out for 25 games this season. His left ankle is finally better, and he will be returning to the court with the Dallas Mavericks soon. He was listed as questionable for the first time this season, though inactive Wednesday night.
Rumors report that Dirk was on the team flight this morning for the Mavericks match-up tonight against the Suns. He has been practicing with the Mavs over the past few weeks, reportedly playing 3-on-3s with Mavs player deployment interns (side note- how do I get this job??).
So, why do I call Dirk a classic? First, he’s one of those players that I would hear my older brother talk about when I was younger, and he’s still an active player now. Secondly, him and Kobe Bryant are the only players to have 20-plus seasons with one NBA franchise. When Dirk takes the floor, he will set the new record for a NBA player with the most seasons on 1 team (21). In NBA history, only 5 players have ever played 21 seasons: Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Moses Malone and (current Atlanta Hawks) Vince Carter.
Last year, Dirk averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game. He sits 232 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for number 5 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The 7-foot German is one of seven players (and the only international player) with more than 30,000 career points. When he takes the floor this season, he will be joining the 15-11 Mavericks team that is 8-2 in their last 10 games.
The cover image from this article is my favorite Dirk picture, taken during Game 5 of the NBA finals in 2011. During the 2011 Finals, when I was 14, Dirk led the Mavs to a championship with 582 points in the playoff that year.
Stats from The Associated Press and Basketball Reference. Image via You Got Dunked On.