Dirk Nowitzki to Pass Shaquille O’Neal on the NBA All-Time Scoring List


When will Dirk Nowitzki pass Shaquille O’Neal on the all-time scoring list?

It was November of last year and I was sitting in a packed out American Airlines Center. It was a normal regular season game against the Sacramento Kings to most people, but to the MFFL faithful, it was the night Dirk was to pass Hakeem Olajuwon on the all-time scoring list.

The fourth quarter comes and you could  feel the sense in the crowd as history was about to be made again by our beloved Dirk. Monta Ellis hits Dirk at the left elbow and as we all have seen a thousand times, Dirk drains the shot. Dirk was now inside the top ten NBA scoring list, but he wasn’t done…

Nov 11, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward

Dirk Nowitzki

(41) scores over Sacramento Kings forward

Carl Landry

(24) during the second half to move past Hakeem Olajuwon (not pictured) into ninth place on the all time scoring list at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next couple of months we saw Dirk pass the great Elvin Hayes for 8th & eventually sinking a shot in Brooklyn to pass Moses Malone to be the 7th all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

Dirk comes into this season 477 points behind Shaquille O’Neal for 6th place.

Let’s say that Dirk starts the season averaging his 17.3 PPG from last season. That would put Dirk passing Shaq at about 27 games into the season, but I think we all can agree that Dirk will have some games well over 17 a game (especially with some early on Matthews/Parsons recovery).

So we should see Dirk move up this historic list around the 20-24 game mark of the season.

During that game span in December we see them at home against the Rockets, @Washington, @New York, Atlanta (home), and Washington (home).

Of course every Mavericks fan wants this to happen at home and what better opponent for it to be against than the Rockets? Although if it did happen on the road, Madison Square Garden would be a good consolation prize. But cross your fingers that this could happen at home in Dallas.

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The national media at that time will be a surreal moment for the whole Dallas Mavericks fan base. After this milestone happens, there will be only 5 players in the history of the NBA to score more points than Dirk while he still adds on to his resume of being the greatest foreign-born player to ever play in the league.

With Dirk sitting at 3,300 points behind Wilt Chamberlain, the chances of him moving into the top 5 are slim, but not impossible. Even if Dirk averages just 15 PPG, it would take roughly 220 games to reach Wilt. We would most likely have to see a solid 3 more years from him, so not completely impossible.

Nov 21, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) passes the ball over Los Angeles Lakers guard

Kobe Bryant

(24) during the first half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As I look at that list of the greatest to ever play the game, I couldn’t help but to notice a common denominator that most of the players in the top 10 have: a Hall of Fame sidekick for a good portion of their career. This is by no means taking anything away from the other players, but another testament to how great Dirk is.

Kareem (Magic), Malone (Stockton), Kobe/Shaq (each other), Jordan (Pippen) Wilt (Baylor/West in last 5 years) and the list goes on.

I know you are reading this saying that Dirk played with Nash and Kidd, but are they on the same level as Magic, Pippen, and Stockton? They are both all-time great point guards who will be in the Hall of Fame, but they didn’t take the load, pressure, and defense off of Dirk like the other sidekicks did. Watching Dirk be the pure focal point most of his career has been nothing short of historic.

From the classic leg-kick fade away to the clutch moments we will all remember, Dirk Nowitzki is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.

So move over Shaq, the German is coming.

Next: Mavericks Bench: Who is the Best of the Bunch?

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