Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki is the last of a dying breed

Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki could be the last player to be loyal to one team for over two decades because of the business of basketball.

Dallas Mavericks GOAT Dirk Nowitzki played his last game on April 10th. That should go down as one of the greatest days not only in Mavericks history but NBA history as well. Heck if anything, they should make it a national holiday.

41-21-1 is a set of numbers that the Mavs have marketed for several weeks now. Their representation is simple. Dirk wore number 41 for 21 seasons all with one team, the Dallas Mavericks. Will NBA supporters ever see another player be as loyal as Dirk Nowitzki? The answer is no.

Dirk’s Legacy

There are too many words to describe Dirk and all that he’s done and meant to the city of Dallas. Sadly, all those words would be an understatement.

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He’s one of the few players who revolutionized the game for the better by changing the roles of the big men, European players coming to the league, and what he’s done off the court. Not only that, but he has an unmatched longevity with one team.

Dirk joins a short list of players who have played their entire career for one team.

Kobe Bryant is second by playing 20 seasons with the L.A. Lakers, but if you remember there was a time where Kobe wanted to be traded. Tim Duncan and John Stockton follow next with 19 seasons with the Spurs and Jazz respectively. Reggie Miller (Pacers) is tied for fifth with Udonis Haslem (Heat) and Manu Ginobili (Spurs) by playing 18 seasons with one organization.

So Dirk Nowitzki stands as the only player with 20-plus years in one uniform.

Aside from the 14 All-Star appearances, Dirk has many other milestones. He is sixth all-time in points, is an NBA MVP, an NBA Finals MVP, and won a championship in 2011. Nowitzki also ranks near the top in career minutes, games played, and rebounds just to name a few stats. Again this is all with the Dallas Mavericks.

Today’s Game

Players leaving their teams is nothing new. They have often done what was best for the business and been traded away or departed in free agency.

The debate about player loyalty has popped up plenty in recent seasons, though. Few players are like Dirk, Kobe, or Duncan staying with one team for their entire career. Both parties could have decided to split any of the three, but they did not.

It’s tough to determine what separates these players. Something makes them want to stay. The team is still interested even when they are past their primes.

Fans could call it old school fashioned loyalty. It is a more modern league where players want to get paid and teams want what’s best. The days of staying loyal like Dirk are vanishing.

Superstar players are jumping ship in hopes of a better opportunity, or they’ve worn out their welcome. Paul Pierce was a Celtic for years until the organization traded him. While the lines of loyalty and business become more blurred, expect players and teams to continue trading and moving to other opportunities.

Dirk Forever

While Dirk is officially retired as a player, his legacy will continue to live on in the younger players that he’s influenced. Fans will miss seeing him play on the court. His patent one-legged fadeaway shot is gone, but not forgotten. Dirk’s ability to make the new guys look foolish with his never-aging jump shot and the ability to make his teammates better will be missed next season.

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As the old saying goes father-time is undefeated, but what Dirk Nowitzki has done for the game will live on throughout the NBA forever. He has changed the game for the better. Also, his ability to play consistently for the Dallas Mavericks for 21 seasons, and do what he did will never happen again which makes him the last of a dying breed.