As he’s currently wrapping up his 19th season in the NBA, Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki has cemented himself as one of the greatest players ever. In a recent interview, Nowitzki responded to questions regarding retirement, as the 2017-18 season could be his very last.
“I decided last year to sign-up for two more, so I’d love to get through this one. It’s been fairly healthy. I had some injury problems earlier in the season, but I’m doing okay, and then hopefully [I can] hold up for next year.
“That’s twenty years, then I’ll turn 40 in the summer as well. So that’s probably a good time. But we’ll just have to see how my body holds up.”
In 35 games through the 2016-17 season, the 39 year-old is averaging 13.5 points on 41% shooting, as both numbers are his lowest since the 1998-99 season, his rookie season. Dirk is one of five players left to be drafted in the 1990s. That short list also includes, Metta World Peace, Jason Terry, Manu Ginobili and Paul Pierce.
Even in his nineteenth season, Dirk continues to provide much-needed scoring for this struggling Mavericks team. After missing 24 total games due to a reoccurring achillies injury, he’s had 22 games of scoring double-figures.
Nowitzki’s best game of the season actually came during a 98-91 loss against the Detroit Pistons on February 15th. He had a double-double of 24 points, and added ten rebounds plus three assists. He was 9-19 from the floor and 4-6 from three.
- 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks on 4-9 shooting from three; Indiana Pacers defeat Mavericks 130-121 in season opener.
- 26 points, 5 rebounds and 8-16 shooting from the field and 5-10 shooting from three; Minnesota Timberwolves defeat Mavericks 101-92 on January 9th.
- 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists on 4-7 shooting from three; Portland Trail Blazers edge Mavericks 114-113 on February 7th.
- 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals on 8-17 shooting; Mavericks win 112-105 over Utah Jazz.
This season, Dallas is currently 25-36 and are sitting tenth in the Western Conference. After a 2-11 start in November to begin the year, the Mavericks not only dealt with the abscence of Dirk, but had mass injuries throughout their entire roster. To have Nowitzki back (and healthy) in the lineup has ultimately revived their case for making the playoffs.
If Dirk were to plan his retirement prior to the 2017-18 season — as fellow legends Kobe Bryant and Pierce have done recently — there’s no doubt that a farewell tour would be a fitting way to hang it up. It was pretty unfortunate that fellow power forwards Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett weren’t able to have them.
But regardless of how he goes out, there will never be another player who’ll have the kind of “decorated, career that Nowitzki’s had. An NBA champion (2011), nearing 30,000 points; those are just a few of his well-documented accomplishments.
- 13x NBA All-Star
- 12x All-NBA
- 2010-11 NBA Finals MVP
- 2006-07 NBA MVP
“I think that I had happened to come in at a good time. The NBA was going away from the pounding [physicality]. I think they wanted to get away from that a little bit, such as more movement, more European five-on-five, pick-and-roll, passing game, or at least have everybody cutting. They implemented the zone, which might’ve change the schemes that some teams were running.
“So I happened to come in at the right time, where they opened up the court. They wanted more shooters, and now most of the five guys step out and shoot it [at least] from 17-18 feet. In this transition the last twenty years, I’ve watched the game grow. It’s been fun to watch the last couple of years.”
There’s no question that Nowitzki has had one of the greatest impacts internationally. And it’s not just in the entire NBA, but in most proffesional sports. It’ll be very difficult for the Mavericks organization to draft another player who’ll be as great as him, but with the young talent they’re developing, the future should be bright.
The post-Nowitzki era is soon coming into reality.