NOWITZKI JOINS THE ELITES
Mavericks star reaches 30,000 career points
GERMAN star Dirk Nowitzki became only the sixth player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points on Tuesday as the Dallas Mavericks cruised to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nowitzki, who needed just 20 points to reach the milestone heading into the game, reached the mark in the second quarter with a fadeaway jump shot.
The 38-year-old now joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the only men to make 30,000 points in the NBA.
Nowitzki’s landmark scoring electrified the Mavericks’ American Airlines Centre stadium, with the veteran mobbed by a group of teammates and team owner Mark Cuban.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver paid tribute to Nowitski’s achievement in a statement, hailing the Mavs star as “a model player and terrific ambassador for our game.”
“This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA’s greatest players,” Silver said in a statement.
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James — who with just over 28,300 career points could become the next player to break 30,000 — also issued a salute via social media, breaking off from dinner at his home to record a video message.
“I’ve gotta congratulate Dirk Nowitzki on putting up 30,000 points. I’m watching the game right now,” James said. “The big fella, congratulations, boy, on that big 30,000. Woo! And he on fire, too.
“Very efficient tonight. There was no way I was missing this moment. That’s big time, man. Congratulations. Hopefully I can join you at some point, big fella. Salute.”
Dallas eventually eased to a 122-111 victory in Tuesday’s game, improving to 27-36 to remain on the fringes of the race for postseason places.
Nowitzki confirmed last week he plans to see out the full term of his two-year contract with the Mavericks, which will take his remarkable career into a 20th season next year.
Nowitzki played in only six of the Mavs’ opening 29 games this season after an Achilles problem. He is averaging 13.6 and 6.4 rebounds over 34 games.
If he returns for a 20th season, Nowitzki would match the record set by Los Angeles Lakers star Bryant, who played 20 seasons with one franchise before retiring last year.
“Twenty is a great number,” Nowitzki said last week in an interview.
“I think 20 seasons also with one team, like I’m trying to do it — I think only Kobe has done it — that’s another great accomplishment. So I kind of want to make the 20 fold. Plus that summer I’m turning 40. I think that’s also a good number to be in the league ... from 20 to 40.
“That’s what I’m looking at. Hopefully I’ll finish this season out strong, and then have a decent year, hopefully not as (many) injuries next year.”
RESULTS: Dallas 122 LA Lakers 111, Portland 126 Oklahoma City 121.
Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki celebrates after scoring his 30,000th career point in the second quarter against Los Angeles Lakers at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas on Tuesday.