That’s what we witnessed tonight at the American Airlines Center as Dirk Nowitzki passed Wilt Chamberlain for sixth on the NBA all-time scoring list.
Regarding the game, though this was a milestone night for Dirk, the Mavs fumbled the ball away, up four with 15 seconds remaining, eventually losing in overtime 129-125. Luka notched another triple-double with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. Dirk finished with 8 points.
SIXTH ALL-TIME! pic.twitter.com/b1MMpCzgPe
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 19, 2019
“Yeah, the Big Dipper! Any time you beat some of those legends up there, it’s incredible,” Dirk said of passing Wilt. “Like I said, Wilt, probably during his era, was the most dominant player this league has ever seen.”
Dirk came into tonight only four points shy of moving up on the list after posting 14 points on Saturday against Cleveland.
This marks the second time that Dirk claimed the sixth spot on the all-time scoring list before LeBron James passed him early this season.
“It’s surreal at times to be up there with some of these names but I’ll let all that soak in when my career is over and I can show my kids,” Dirk said of the moment.
Speaking of his kids, Dirk joked that their favorite players are Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, and Salah Mejri (yes, Salah) because they “dunk a lot.”
“It’s really a monumental, historical accomplishment,” Carlisle said of Dirk’s feat. “Not many people on the outside know the sacrifices he’s made to be on the floor to accomplish something like this and it’s just another credit to how he’s approached his entire career.”
Before the game, Rick Carlisle harped on the struggle for Dirk behind the scenes with his injuries over the past three years. “I had to fight all the way back. There were times in December and January where I couldn’t really move and it wasn’t fun to compete. I couldn’t really help the guys. I had to put in a lot of work,” Dirk said of his rehab earlier this season.
That’s 31,424 points for a 7’0” clumsy kid from Würzburg, Germany. A kid who contemplated quitting and going back home to Germany during his rookie season because he didn’t think he could compete in the NBA.
31,424 points for the European player that got the stigma for being soft and labeled as the star who couldn’t win on the biggest and brightest stage.
No, those aren’t it. It’s 31,424 points for the greatest International basketball player of all-time. It’s 31,424 points for the 14-time All-Star, the league MVP, the NBA champion, and the Finals MVP.
Lastly and what I deem as most important, it’s 31,424 points for the man who stayed true to who he was as a person. The man who stuck out all the hard times in Dallas and never wavered. The man who has spent his entire 21-year career in one uniform. The man who has become not only a future Hall of Famer, a transcendent player in the game of basketball but the face of Dallas sports forever.
Dirk, we love you.
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