Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki came into tonight’s game against the Lakers just 20 points short of 30,000 career points. Only five other players have ever scored 30,000 (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain), and Dirk went and joined them as soon as he possibly could.
The Big German dropped 18 points in the first quarter, which ties for the highest scoring first quarter of his career, and he nailed a 15-footer to get to 30K one minute into the second quarter. Dirk came out swinging from the jump and got to 13 within five minutes.
He notched his 29,999th and 30,000th points with—what else?—his signature jagged fadeaway:
Dirk followed that jumper up with a three to bring his career point total to a nice palindromic total before a Lakers timeout. Mark Cuban and everyone mobbed him in congratulations. He finished the half with 25.
The commish even weighed in and congratulated Dirk.
Nowitzki only got to 20,000 in 2010, after 11 NBA seasons. His coach Rick Carlisle told ESPN at the time that he projected Dirk could hit 25,000 before he called it a career. He got there in three years. Nowitzki was an all-star two seasons ago at 36, arguably should have been an all-star last year at 37, and is only noticeably slowing down this season. Hell, he scored 40 less than a year ago, and this current Mavericks team is bad and they’re still in the playoff hunt. Here are some Dirk Nowitzki facts.
- After the Warriors infamously beat a 67-win Mavericks team in the first round of the 2007 Playoffs, he went and kicked around Australia to find “the meaning of life.”
- Shooting coach Holger Geschwinder got him into basketball in 1994. The pair have stuck together ever since.
- His short stint as an NBA broadcaster was incredible.
- Ross Perot was the owner of the Mavericks when they drafted Dirk. He flew out to Wurzburg, Germany to say hello.
- He beat the first edition of the LeBron James-era Heat in 2011 for his only career championship. Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson, Peja Stojakovic, and J.J. Barea all played over 15 minutes per game in those playoffs.
- He loves David Hasselhoff.
- Here’s a good Charles Barkley story about a teenage Dirk Nowitzki kicking the asses of a team of NBA legends.
That 2011 title with the Mavericks was one of the coolest championships I’ve seen in any sport, and whenever he hangs up his shoes, he’ll close one of the best careers in NBA history.