March 7th, 2017. To many, this date doesn’t mean much. For Dallas Maverick fans and NBA followers, this is one of the greatest dates in modern sports. Dirk Nowitzki, the tall, lanky 7-footer from Germany scored his 30,000th career regular season point, something that only 6 other players have done in the history of the game.
All of us are thinking, wow, this is unbelievable. But there’s more. Dirk is only one of three players to ever reach the 30,000 point mark all with one team. Yes, thats correct. Himself, Kobe Bryant (Lakers), and Karl Malone (Jazz) are the only 3 to do so.
To me, Dirk is one of the most overlook superstars the game has ever seen. In an era where so much with the game was growing and getting better and bigger, Dirk created a name for himself atop the greatest Power Forwards and never stopped adjusting his game to continue his greatness in the league for 10-plus years. One of the few greats that has had his career all in one city, he has done so much more than perform on the court for the Mavericks. He has done so much in the Dallas community and for the face of the NBA in international waters that numbers cannot show the value.
The German who transcended the game in so many ways was once an international prodigy just trying to make a name for himself. The family pedigree was one that destined for an NBA career, as both his mother and father were both Basketball players professionally. Many people wonder how the 7 footer who plays like a guard was able to be so good and could hit his signature fadeaway jumper with ease. The answer? Holger Geschwinder. Dirk’s shooting coach from his teenage years has been with Dirk throughout his illustrious career. One of the great qualities of the big man is his trust and loyalty within Holger to show him how to be a great shooter, although many thought Holger’s method of teachings were far too abstract and could never work. Who is questioning Holger now?
If you have not seen The Perfect Shot, it’s must-watch. It is a great look inside how Dirk came to the NBA and Holger’s abstract drills are what has created the great player that we all know and love today. For much of the early stages, Holger was ridiculed for teaching basketball with such abnormal and out-of-the-box drills for shooting and movement on the court. What many didn’t know was that the skinny 7 footer was going to gain a beautiful stroke that nobody could guard and the ability to hit near impossible shots, much like his signature fadeaway.
I’ve said this from the jump. Dirk is one of the greatest Power Forwards to ever play the game. Flat out. No other PF has scored 30,000 points besides Malone and Nowitzki. He is a 13-Time All-Star. Just one of two players in NBA history to record 100 3-pointers and 100 blocks in a single season. He is 7th all-time in minutes played. He has led the Dallas Mavericks to 15 playoff appearances since his time in the league.
We have been blessed in an era of the NBA where many of the all-time greats have played their basketball. Not only great basketball, but great basketball for A LOT of years. Dirk being one of these. Timmy Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaq are just a few others. To see another great like Dirk get ready to pack it in, it really makes someone sit back and think of all the great games you have watched him play in. We have been blessed to have such great players come through and transform this game like Dirk Nowitzki has. In a position where the status quo was to back you down and score with your back to the basket at the time, Dirk said no to every norm and started to play like a guard and show finesse and skill rather than force and power. Now we see these players all over at the position. Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge have modeled their game after the tall German.
All in all, THANK YOU Dirk! I owe more thank you’s than I can think of for the great basketball I have been able to watch with you playing. The way you have transformed the game has allowed for better and bigger results for all players and teams. Not to mention your individual success, as only one of six to score 30,000 points or more. The Dallas Maverick franchise has been lucky to have you. The best that us NBA fans can hope for is a few more years of your greatness (I know that it is likely he will retire this year, but I gotta’ hope right?).
Needless to say, when it’s all said and done, there needs to be a statue of the 7 footer shooting that signature fadeaway outside the American Airlines Center.
Thank you, Dirk.