Dirk Nowitzki is set to sign a one-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks worth $5 million. At 40 years young, Nowitzki will be setting an NBA record for the longest career at 21 seasons. Kobe Bryant previously held the record at 20.
Widely regarded as the hands-down best European player to ever play in the NBA, the German big man has become somewhat of an antithesis to recent moves made by players in the modern age. Few greats outside of the Legends have we seen such loyalty to a franchise. Players have sacrificed money to be in a better spot to compete for an NBA title. Teams have severed ties with players in order to rebuild and keep up with the ever-growing arms race of forming of “super teams” to dominate the league. Nowitzki has stayed with the team that drafted him, won them an NBA championship and has taken a pay cut to accommodate their roster moves for a brighter future.
Dirk’s game has never been dependent on him needing to be explosive or an athletic phenom. It’s built on solid fundamentals, an amazing one-legged fadeaway jumper, and an underrated basketball I.Q.
When he played in his 20th season in 2017-18, Nowitzki managed to play in 77 games and average 12.0 ppg and 5.7 rpg in 24.7 minutes per game. Clearly, he still has a little bit more left in his tank, but as mentioned his role with the team has now changed. It’s been a few seasons since he’s taken a backseat to Harrison Barnes as the Mavericks’ go-to scorer. What is difficult to quantify will be his impact as a mentor for their latest young talent to come out of Europe – Slovenian Sensation, Luka Doncic.
Nowitzki is uncertain if this will be his last season in the league. For now, fans all over the World will get to see him in a Mavs jersey and on the floor stopping time as he sinks one-legged fadeaways in the face of would-be defenders.