After 21 one years in the league, Dirk Nowitzki has retired.
The 7-foot German will go down as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. And instead of leaving Dallas to chase rings, Dirk Nowitzki is one of the few NBA stars to spend his entire career on one team. 21 years with the Mavericks is an amazing feat. He led the Mavs to a title in 2011, and for him. That was enough. Loyalty to his fans was more important than multiple rings.
The Mavericks were long-shots on the odds-boards at the one of the most highly rated sportsbook Bovada this season, and now without Dirk's leadership, those odds are likely to fall further in 2020. So what do we know about Nowitzki? We know that he has a pure shot. We know that he's a freak when it comes to his passing, shooting, and ballhandling skills for a 'big man'. And we know that he has built a strong bond with the Dallas community in his illustrious, 21-year career. But what are a few things you may not now?
● Finals MVP
● League MVP
● 13-time All-Star
● 12-time All NBA
● One of the best Power Forwards ever.
For a while there, the Mavericks were a star-studded team. They had Dirk, Novitzki, Micheal Finley, and Steve Nash. But both Finely and Nash left for 'greener' pastures and from 2005 and on ... Dirk's teammate made the All-Stars twice ... so. He did a whole heck of a lot, without very much player support. The only guys to make the All-Stars other than Dirk were Josh Howard in 2007 and Jason Kid who was an injury replacement player.
So over a span of 13 years, Nowitzki only had another All-Star player by his side twice. This is all the crazier when you think about the facts that he still managed to lead the Dallas Mavericks to seven 50-win seasons in that timeframe and pulled down an NBA Championship.
Dirk has been selfless throughout his career in Dallas. He has taken multiple pay cuts just to give his team a better chance. He even did so during his prime in the middle 2000s. He left a lot of money on the table to try to get free agency help.
On top of that, when Dirk was 35 he had an insane season where he played 80 games and averaged:
● 32.9 minutes a game
● 21.7 ppg
● 6.2 rpg
● 2.7 apg
● 50% FG
● 40% 3-PT
● 90% FT
● 60% TS
Despite his age, he was playing so well that both the Rockets and Lakers offered him lucrative deals. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 97 million dollar 4-years deals. But instead of taking the money, he stayed with the Mavericks and took a 65% pay cut. He took a 3-year deal at 25 million so that the Mavericks could sign Chandler Parsons to a 3-year 46 million dollar deal. That is some intense loyalty. And in hindsight ... everyone involved in that (other than Chandler Parsons) probably has some regrets. It was the largest pay cut in NBA history.
At just 18 years of age, during a Nike Hoop Heroes Tour game, Dirk Nowitzki put up 52 points on one of the greatest defenders of all time, Scottie Pippen. Most of the details are told by Charles Barkley, and no footage of this particular game exists, but according to others, it did actually happen. Barkley was so impressed that he was trying to recruit Dirk to go to Auburn, but instead, Nowitzki ended up in the 1998 draft where he was selected by the Bucks and then traded to the Mavericks.