I’m typically not one for hot takes or bold sports-related proclamations, so believe this to be heartfelt for me to say: Dirk Nowitzki is the most underrated/underappreciated player in the history of the NBA.
Hands down the best European player to ever take the court in the States, Nowitzki laid the groundwork for what is now known as the “stretch four” style of play when coming into the league in the late ’90s. Also the progenitor of the unique form of the step-back fadeaway that has become synonymous with his career, Dirk transcended the game and forever changed the way that power forwards play in the NBA.
Last night, Dirk became just the sixth player ever to score 30,000 career points, achieving the milestone in front of a raucous Dallas Mavericks crowd as part of a game that saw the Mavs defeat the Lakers 122-111.
In fitting fashion, the seven-footer from Germany reached 30,000 on a step-back jumper from the wing, using his signature leg kick to provide him with just enough room between him and his defender to sink the shot.
— NBA (@NBA) March 8, 2017
Dirk has already told the media that he’s likely to play at least one more season, as this year has almost been a wash due to injury struggles and the fact that the Mavs have been very disappointing. Therefore, Nowitzki could continue to climb the all-time scoring chart.
Joining the 30,000 point club is no easy task, and for someone who hasn’t received nearly the recognition during the course of his career that he deserves, it makes it even sweeter. Dirk, the 2007 NBA MVP, has often been overlooked in his career, perhaps due to his unorthodox style of play or goofy demeanor. He frequently got overlooked in his glory days, despite being one of the best shooters in the game, but he never let it faze him.
Dirk is still going strong, when healthy, at 38 years old, and the future Hall of Famer deserves all of the recognition that’ll assuredly come out of his significant achievement.