Rick Carlisle’s Heartfelt Monologue on Dirk Nowitzki’s Milestone
The emotions throughout Dallas on the night that Dirk Nowitzki hit the 30,000 points mark was felt by everyone…including Rick Carlisle in his post game press conference.
Dirk Nowitzki added one of the biggest accomplishments of his legendary career on Tuesday night as he scored his 30,000th point. In the history of the NBA, Nowitzki is now just the sixth player of all-time to accomplish this feat.
The night was full of ‘DIRK30K’ shirts for the crowd and numerous tribute videos on the jumbotron. The night was embraced by everyone in the arena. After the game, Rick Carlisle talked to the media once again like he has to after every game.
Except this time it was different.
A normally serious, dry Carlisle who typically takes a handful of questions before walking out decided to pay his respects to his friend, Dirk Nowitzki.
Carlisle took the podium and before answering any question, started with…
"“First of all, we all witnessed one of the most amazing accomplishments really in the history of sports. For me, this was a 13 minute and two second microcosm of one of the greatest careers in the history of this game. Meticulous preparation, total commitment, unbelievable competitive spirit and a real flare for the moment. Watching Dirk over the past couple of days there was no doubt this was going to happen tonight. Our guys done an amazing job early in the game in finding him. LA was mixing up coverages trying to keep it a little confusing. Our guys just kept moving it and finding him. The shot making was absolutely breathtaking. We are all privileged to be some part of this and I congratulate Dirk and I congratulate Holger, who is his longtime mentor who has done such an amazing job at bringing him along throughout his career starting with when he was a teenager. We are extremely thrilled for Dirk. It’s going to take a while to sink in what this really means. The benchmark in baseball is 3,000 hits and there is 30 guys with 3,000 hits in the history of baseball. There is only six who have 30,000 points in the history of our game. The magnitude of the moment is something that we will probably need some time to digest.”"
This was the complete opening monologue from Rick Carlisle to start the post game press conference. Even though he didn’t get choked up, you could see the emotion in Carlisle’s voice for such a historic night.
After being asked about embracing Dirk after that first dead ball, Carlisle had this to say:
"“Total gratitude and in ah in everything he is and everything he stands for both as a man and as an athlete. When you think about how he has carried this franchise really single-handedly in a lot of ways. He has only had a little Hall of Fame help through the years. Kidd was in his mid to late thirties when he came here. He was still a great player, but he didn’t play with Dirk that long. Go check the record of games that he has played in since he has been a Dallas Maverick and the record in terms of winning percentage is one of the greatest of all time. I also know that in the modern era that he is the number two plus/minus guy in the history of what is now considered the modern NBA game,” Carlisle said."
He would go on to talk about how the longevity of Nowitzki’s career is just as impressive as anything.
“Most of us will never know how difficult it is to play 19 years in this league. The things you have to do on a day-to-day basis to keep your body functioning the way it needs to function. The flexibility. The strengthening. Not to mention, the wear and tear of defenses trying to find out how to stop you. It is truly one of amazing mental and physical and skill accomplishments in the history of our game..flat out,” Carlisle said.
Over the course of 19 years, we all have seen the league change. For Carlisle, he has seen the change and he has seen how Nowitzki has impacted that change.
"“A lot has changed, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the greatness of this man as a basketball player and as a human being. If you look back through the period of 19 years, the league has gone through many, many phases during that time and through it all he has always adapted to the game. The game has adapted to him. He is really the first seven footer that was a more or less perimeter guy thanks to Don Nelson,” Carlisle said."
Building off his earlier statement on how Dirk has carried this same franchise almost by himself, Carlisle talks about how Dirk never had the same Hall of Fame talent around him like some of the other greats did in their careers.
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“You look at the top 10 or 12 players in NBA history, most of the guys in that exclusive club had some pretty consistent Hall of Fame help. Not to diminish any of those guys, because those guys are phenomenal. But Dirk’s situation is different. He is the first European MVP in the NBA. He has a lot of milestones along the way. This one is really indescribable,” Carlisle said.
Rick Carlisle was not his typical post game self on Tuesday night and everyone loved it. He embraced the moment and spoke candidly about Nowitzki as a player and a person. The love that he, the franchise and the city has for Nowitzki is indescribable.
“There will never be another guy like this. This is a generational player and this is an uncommon human being in today’s world of professional sports. The loyalty he has shown this city and this franchise. The humility. Everything is just, you can’t spew out enough compliments and great things to say about him,” Carlisle said.
What a night in Dallas, Texas.
Next: How Nowitzki Has Scored 30k Despite the Doubters
Disclaimer: Typically a writer would break up long quotes into shorter quotes, but for this unique situation, I felt it was more impactful to give the reader entire quotes.