On Sunday night in New Orleans, Dirk Nowitzki became only the 17th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points for a career. Nowitzki came into the game against the New Orleans Hornets only needing ten points to surpass the milestone. About halfway through the second quarter, Dirk hit a jump shot that gave him 11 points on the night and 25,001 for his career.
People around Dallas have always thought of Dirk as a Hall-of-Fame player but for a long time he didn’t get the respect he deserved around the rest of the league. People thought his game was too soft; especially for someone as tall as he was. However two Hall-of-Fame coaches saw it differently. Rick Pitino, then with the Boston Celtics, and Don Neslon of the Dallas Mavericks both wanted the kid from Germany. Pitino compared him to Larry Bird after having a private workout with Dirk prior to the 1998 draft. Pittino liked him so much he decided to draft him with the tenth pick. However, Nelson had a different idea. He worked out a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks that would send Robert Traylor to the Bucks in exchange for Nowitzki – a trade that will go down as the best move Don Nelson ever made.
Nowitzki, of course, went on to become NBA MVP during the 2006-2007 season and the NBA Finals MVP during the 2011 Finals when he led the Mavericks to their first title. Dirk has not only proven himself as a Hall-of-Fame type player, but he is loved by the fans in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. All over the city, people know who number 41 is. I’m not sure how high up the scoring list he will climb, but it is certain that he won’t be stopping at 17th place. One thing is for certain, though. No matter how high he climbs on the scoring chart, Dirk has already cemented his name as the number one Maverick of all time.