By Marquist Parker
With a little less that 11 minutes left in the first quarter of a game between the Dallas Mavericks and the LA Lakers Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki hits a fadeaway shot to put his team up 12 points. These were not just any 2 points, these points helped put Nowitzki in an exclusive club: the 30,000 point club. This club has only 6 members: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and now Dirk Nowitzki are the only other players in NBA history to reach the mark.
Nowitzki is the first international player to reach the threshold, further cementing his legacy as basketball’s greatest player born outside the United States, with Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) 26,946
“Congratulations to Dirk Nowitzki on reaching the NBA’s most exclusive 30,000-point club,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a news release. “Throughout his 19 seasons with the Mavericks, Dirk has been a model player and terrific ambassador for our game. This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA’s greatest players.”
“You look at his body, his athleticism, you’re like, ‘OK, there’s no way this guy has 30,000 points,'” Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes said, “It just speaks to his consistency, year in, year out, Hall of Fame players next to him, not Hall of Fame players next to him, going out and doing what he does all the time.”
The 2016-17 season has been perhaps the roughest of Nowitzki’s career, with his body beginning to show the wear of 1,500-plus regular-season and playoff games. The 7-foot German missed all but five of the Mavericks’ first 29 games with an Achilles injury and came into Tuesday averaging 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, the former his worst mark since his rookie season. But Nowitzki has showed flashes of his vintage self, helping propel Dallas to the cusp of the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed. A 20-point outburst Feb. 9 helped the Mavs to an overtime win against the rising Utah Jazz, and he came through in big moments during narrow wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs earlier this season.
Thirty thousand points. One indelible legacy.