Dallas Mavericks: The perfect day to be thankful for Dirk

SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 08: #41 Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks reacts during the 2018 NBA China Games match between the Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers at Universidade Center on October 8, 2018 in Shenzhen, China. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 08: #41 Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks reacts during the 2018 NBA China Games match between the Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers at Universidade Center on October 8, 2018 in Shenzhen, China. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images) /
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Happy Thanksgiving to all Dallas Mavericks fans and everyone else. On this day, it is important to be thankful for the things that make us happy, the things that are important to us and the things that we sometimes take for granted. How bout some nostalgia?

There have been some really great basketball players that have come through the Dallas Mavericks organization. Rolando Blackman. Brad Davis. Mark Aguirre. Michael Finley. Steve Nash. Even Jason Terry. All great players in their own right but none hold a candle to everybody’s favorite Maverick, Dirk Nowitzki.

Dirk and the Mavs go hand-in-hand, like turkey and mashed potatoes, like pumpkin pie and whipped cream, like cranberry sauce and the garbage. Through all the ups and downs, loyalty has never been in question on either side of the aisle with this perfect marriage. The Mavs and Nowitzki prop each other up, even to this day.

For those out there looking for love, find someone who is as loyal to you as Dirk Nowitzki is to the city of Dallas. Even though this is only 21 basketball years together, that equates to roughly 110 regular years. You would have him forever. Unfortunately, there is only one Dirk so you already are taking a step down.

Last night’s ceremony with Dirk receiving a key to the city from the mayor of Dallas was a great moment and a heartwarming one for many life-long fans. Many of us felt that it was long overdue but hey, better late than never.

So what are some of the things we can be thankful for from Dirk Nowitzki? That list is almost never-ending, so I will narrow it down to some of the most important ones.

DALLAS, TX – MARCH 7: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball to score his 30,000th career point during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 7, 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX – MARCH 7: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball to score his 30,000th career point during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 7, 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Entertainment on the court

When speaking of trademark moves from the NBA, expect to hear Dirk’s name somewhere in the first five mentioned. The one-legged fade sent daggers into the hearts of ill-prepared fans around the league on a nightly basis and there was nothing the opposing team could do about it. Dirk has scored over 31,000 points in his NBA career and that total has not come to a stop yet.

Dirk was also entertaining for other reasons. When he was still young, he was actually an excellent dunker who was aggressive with the ball and had quick, light feet. As he aged over the years, he had to adapt his game to stay relevant. He is one of very few players who had the mentality to be able to do that at a relatively young age.

He was also an entertaining defender. Dirk is criticized relentlessly by analysts and Mavs fans about his seemingly atrocious defense, but any center in the league who has gone against him knows just how lethal his swipe could be under the basket. Dirk had some of the quickest, most agile hands in the league and there were plenty of players who knew it.

Entertainment off the court

If Dirk isn’t viewed as the GOAT on the court, it seems unlikely that anyone out there would not give him the crown as the GOAT off the court. There is no other player out there better at Twitter than 40 year old Dirk himself. I wish there was more that can be said but the tweets are too good not to share. Let’s take a look.

He can’t be tamed.

Bringing a championship to Dallas

Now that we have talked about the lighthearted side of Dirk, it is time to get sentimental. The greatest achievement by a Dallas sports team since the turn of the century came thanks to the immaculate play of Dirk Nowitzki. In 2011, the Mavs were the #3 seed in the Western Conference and many believed that they were not a threat to the title.

After fighting through a vintage Brandon Roy performance over the Portland Trail Blazers in 6, the Mavs moved on to dismantle the Los Angeles Lakers in perhaps one of the most incredibly lopsided series of all time. The defending champion Lakers didn’t know what hit them as the Mavs swept them with ease. Finally, people were starting to take notice.

Another impressive series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder came next, where Dallas took down three different MVP award winners in 5 games. Dirk was unstoppable in the series and the Thunder were gone in no time.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat skated through the playoffs on the East side, beating all three of their opponents in 5 games each. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh seemed unstoppable and on their way to a title. Not just one, though. Not two. Not three. Actually it was just two. Because the Mavs took them down in six games and celebrated their first championship in franchise history.

Dirk Nowitzki (C) of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates with teammates after winning the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Jason Terry scored 27 points and Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks won 105-95 to take the best-of-seven championship series four-games-to-two to claim their first NBA championship in franchise history. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Dirk Nowitzki (C) of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates with teammates after winning the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Jason Terry scored 27 points and Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks won 105-95 to take the best-of-seven championship series four-games-to-two to claim their first NBA championship in franchise history. AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) /

Dirk took home the Finals MVP, as if there was any doubt. That Mavs team cemented its place in history and it was on the back of the greatest player the franchise has ever seen and may ever see again. Dirk is a once in a lifetime kind of talent and the fans in Dallas have been spoiled beyond belief.

For most of us, basketball is still just a game. We may get ecstatic when our team wins and we may get furious when they lose, but the next day, things go back to normal and we wait for the next game.

Dirk made basketball more than just a game for a lot of us. His unconventional playing style mixed with his success and just enough awkwardness to spice things up tore down the barrier between just another athlete and someone you really felt like you could idolize, someone you really wanted to be like. Dirk gave basketball more meaning than a lot of us probably ever thought possible. We have truly been spoiled.

When the final buzzer sounds on Dirk Nowitzki’s career, there may not be a dry eye in the stands. Like the ending to a perfect movie, many of us will not know if we are crying because we are sad he is gone, or crying because of how lucky we were to witness it. To witness greatness personified. I’m not ready for that day.

Luckily for us, that day is not here yet. Today is a day to be thankful for the things that are important to us, and while Dirk being an important part of my life may not make sense to an outsider, those who know understand what he really means, what he stands for.

Next. Dallas Mavericks: A time to give thanks where it's due

I have no shame admitting that I am thankful for what Dirk has done for this city and for me personally. His legacy will be one that I remember for the rest of my life, and when I’m old and cranky, you can bet I will be leading the argument against the youngsters about how Dirk Nowitzki is the Greatest of All Time. And I will always know that I won that argument, whether they see it or not.