You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone at all with a bad word to say about Dirk Nowitzki, so this is about as good a good news story as you’re likely to get out of the NBA this week.
The hugely beloved Dallas Mavericks veteran today stamped his ticket to the history books by becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to score 30,000 career points.
Dirk entered today’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers needing 20 points to tick over to the mythical 30k mark, and he managed to sink the history-making basket early in the game’s second quarter; his Dallas teammates quite obviously feeding him assists left and right to help him get over the line.
The big, loveable, consummate professional 38-year-old German now joins Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone, and Kobe Bryant in the 30,000 club, also becoming the first non-American and first white player to eclipse the mark in the NBA. He’s also just the third player to achieve the mark while playing for the one NBA side, with the other two being Malone and Bryant (believe it or not, Michael Jordan scored his 30,000th point in a Washington Wizards jersey).
NBA commissioner Adam Silver posted a statement of congratulations shortly after Nowitzki hit his historic bucket, paying particular tribute to Dirk’s tireless ambassadorial efforts in the league.
“Congratulations to Dirk Nowitzki on joining the NBA’s most exclusive 30,000-point club. Throughout his 19 seasons with the Mavericks, Dirk has been a model player and terrific ambassador for the game. This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA’s greatest players.”
LeBron James, watching the game at home with his family, posted a special tribute to Nowitzki via social media shortly after the magic shot sank.
The Mavericks aired a special tribute video to Nowitzki’s career on the arena big screen during the timeout after the 30k mark was eclipsed.
Perhaps no video captured the raw emotion of the moment better than this shot of Dirk’s shooting coach Holger Geschwindner, stoically wiping away a tear in the crowd as he soaks up the enormity of Dirk’s accomplishment.
But after the mania of the moment died down, Dirk – as he has done countless times before for the Mavs – got back to work, hauling the Mavericks to a 122 – 111, behind his game-high 25 points, with 11 rebounds.
That’s Dirk for you. A workhorse. A true professional. The greatest player to ever pull on a Dallas jersey.
Dirk Nowitzki forever.
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty.