Top 10 Moments of Dirk Nowitzki’s Career So Far

Top 10 Moments of Dirk Nowitzki's Career So Far

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Since being acquired in a draft-day trade in 1998, Dirk Nowitzki has brought the Dallas Mavericks an unmatched run of success that the franchise had never seen before. Spearheaded by Nowitzki, Dallas went from dormant franchise to a consistent contender and then an NBA Championship team in 2011. Here now are the 10 best moments of Nowitzki's career so far.

10. Dirk Scores 30 After Losing Front Tooth vs. San Antonio In 2001 Playoffs

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10. Dirk Scores 30 To Avoid Sweep In 2001 Playoffs

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Despite needing an IV to combat the flu and having a tooth knocked out by an errant elbow from San Antonio Spurs guard Terry Porter, Dirk scored 30 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to help Dallas avoid a Spurs playoff sweep in 2001. The Spurs would ultimately win the series in five, but this game showed us why Dirk is one of the toughest players in NBA history.

9. Dirk Gets Traded To Dallas in 1998 Draft-Day Deal

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9. Dirk Gets Traded To Dallas in 1998 Draft-Day Deal

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The fortunes of the Mavericks changed forever in the 1998 NBA Draft. In two separate deals, the Mavs were able to acquire Nowitzki, who was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, for Robert Traylor, originally drafted by Dallas. In the second deal, Dallas then traded Pat Garrity, who was acquired in the Nowitzki deal, to Phoenix for point guard Steve Nash. Both Nash and Nowitzki helped turn what was a floundering franchise into a viable contender.

8. Dirk Wins 2007 NBA MVP Award

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8. Dirk Wins 2007 NBA MVP Award

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After shooting a career-best 50.2 percent from the field and recording averages of 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists, Dirk won his first and only NBA MVP award during the 2006-07 season. Nowitzki also led the Mavericks to a league-best and franchise-high 67 wins that season as he became the first European player in NBA history to receive the honor.

7. Dirk Pours in 50 Points Against The Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of 2006 Western Conference Finals

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7. Dirk Pours in 50 Points Against The Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of 2006 Western Conference Finals

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With the 2006 Western Conference Finals tied at two games apiece, Dirk came up big in a crucial game five against the Phoenix Suns. In a 117-101 Dallas win, Nowitzki scored 50 points, shot 5-for-6 from three-point range and made 17-of-18 free throw attempts. Nowitzki grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out three assists as well. The Mavs would then win the series in six and advance to their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.

6. Dirk and the Mavericks Sweep the Two-Time Defending Champion Los Angeles Lakers in 2011 Western Conference Semifinals

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6. Dirk and the Mavericks Sweep the Two-Time Defending Champion Los Angeles Lakers in 2011 Western Conference Semifinals

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Dirk and the Mavs were given little no chance heading into their Western Conference Semifinals series against Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, but the Mavs stunned the basketball world by sweeping Los Angeles. This would be the only time in Jackson's Hall of Fame coaching career that one of his teams were swept in the postseason.

5. Dirk Drops 48 Points on Oklahoma City in Game 1 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals

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5. Dirk Drops 48 Points on Oklahoma City in Game 1 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals

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Against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals, Nowitzki had a performance for the ages. Guarded primarily by Serge Ibaka, who is a great defender, Dirk scored 48 points, shot 12-of-15 from the field, made all 24 of his free throws and recorded six rebounds, four assists and four blocks. The Mavericks would win this series in five and advanced to the NBA Finals for just the second time in franchise history.

4. Dirk Sends Game 7 of the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals Into Overtime

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4. Dirk Sends Game 7 of the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals Into Overtime

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After leading the San Antonio Spurs 3-1 in their 2006 Western Conference Semifinals series, the Mavericks couldn't seal the deal as the Spurs forced a Game 7. The Mavericks held a 20-point lead in the game, but San Antonio once again came back, eventually taking the lead late in the game. Down by three with 32 seconds left, Nowitzki converted a three-point play, which tied the game. The Mavs would go on to win the series in overtime 119-111.

3. Dirk Overcomes the Flu To Help Dallas Win Game 4 of 2011 NBA Finals

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3. Dirk Overcomes the Flu To Help Dallas Win Game 4 of 2011 NBA Finals

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Heading into Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals, Dirk was fighting the flu and was publicly mocked by Miami Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. During the game, however, it was Nowitzki who would make the Heat sick as he scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 86-83 win. The game evoked memories of Michael Jordan's famous flu game back in the 1997 NBA Finals.

2. Dirk Hits Game-Winning Layup with 3.6 Seconds Left in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals

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2. Dirk Hits Game-Winning Layup with 3.6 Seconds Left in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals

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Trailing 1-0 to the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals and down 88-73 with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 2, Dirk and the Mavs completed one of the most stunning comebacks in NBA Finals history. The Mavs outscored the Heat 22-7 down the stretch, and Nowitzki sealed the win with a game-winning layup with 3.6 seconds remaining.

1. Dirk Wins First NBA Championship In Game 6 of 2011 NBA Finals

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1. Dirk Wins First NBA Championship In Game 6 of 2011 NBA Finals

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Despite struggling from the field in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals (9-of-27), Dirk finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks clinched their first and only NBA Championship to date with a 105-95 win in Miami. This game capped off a memorable series by Dirk, and he was named NBA Finals MVP.

Brian Kalchik is a Detroit Lions writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.

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