Sometime in late January, Dirk Nowitzki shaved. That would be the last time, at least until the disappointing Mavericks clawed their way back to a .500 record. Well, after last night's overtime victory against the Clippers, featuring a season-high 33 from Dirk, Dallas is 35-36. The beard? It is out of control.
The .500 beard was O.J. Mayo's and Vince Carter's idea, but they wear heavy beards anyway. Nowitzki, along with Dahntay Jones, Jae Crowder, and Chris Kaman, got in on the fun. It's been easier for some guys than others. ("Kaman looks like a freakin' grizzly," Carter said last month, just a few weeks into the experiment. Crowder has been unable to grow more than fuzz.)
It didn't work, at first. The Mavericks entered March the same way they entered February: seven games under .500, and well out of the playoff picture. But after a 10-4 month, with Nowitzki perhaps finally rounding into shape after preseason knee surgery, Dallas finds itself one measley game out of the 8-seed in the West, and one game away from shaving.
His wife hates the beard. His mom says he looks old. It's itchy, and mats with sweat, and he looks like a crazed mountain man. Nowitzki admits "it's not a good look." So before it's gone forever, let's warmly look back on two months of an admirable attempt at facial hair.