Basketball

Dirk Nowitzki Not Retiring, Needs Just 20 Points More to Reach NBA’s Elite Club

Dirk Nowitzki Not Retiring, Needs Just 20 Points More to Reach NBA’s Elite Club
PHOTOGRAPH: Jan Fante | Dirk Nowitzki playing for Germany in friendly game against France in 2015.

Dirk Nowitzki wants to come back next year to play his 20th season in the NBA. Next season, the German player will be 40, but he does not anticipate drastic changes that would prevent his return.

The crowd still cheers. In a game last month, the player they call the “German Assassin” had the hometown crowd in Dallas up on their feet.

As the Dallas Mavericks battled the Portland Trailblazers in a down-the-wire contest, Dirk made a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining. That could have been another one for the memories, except Portland still managed to pull off a win.

Playing Form

With another season, it is not a stretch of the imagination to expect more highlights from Nowitzki. He has more girth now – it is not the same form that led a Mavericks team that humbled Lebron James and the Miami Heat in 2011.

Today, Dirk is more likely to pass when driving to the basket rather than finish with a lay-up. Fans are, however, grateful that the 3-point shots are still being made: a simple knee bend and next thing you know the ball has swished cleanly through the basket.

Dirk, has stated, “I said last summer: I signed a two-year deal, [and] that obviously meant I want to play for two more. I want to complete that deal.” He is earning $25 million this season. Another $25 million awaits him next season.

That paycheck has a team option – meaning team owner Mark Cuban could simply pay the amount or ask the 7-footer to agree to a smaller amount to accommodate other players’ salaries. Dirk had agreed in the past to a cut in his salary to bring star-caliber players to the team who could help win a championship.

The German is one of the few players in the league who has spent his entire NBA career with one team. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, who have both retired, are two others.

A few more three-point shots

Nowitzki needs only 20 more points to be part of the elite club of NBA players who have scored 30,000 points or more.  He just might do it on Tuesday night when the Mavericks battle the LA Lakers.

He would become the first international player to accomplish the feat. Other players who have reached the 30,000-point plateau are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and Julius Erving.

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