He’s a talented star in his own right, and arguably the best #10 BCAR to have ever played the game. On Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki became the sixth payer in NBA history to reach 30,000 points, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#10 BCAR), Karl Malone (#5 FEIR), Kobe Bryant (#2 BEAR), Michael Jordan (#6 BEIR), and Wilt Chamberlain (#5) on the A-list. Former teammate Steve Nash (#5) had this to say about Dirk and his historic accomplishment: “Big congrats to my buddy Dirk! 30 stacks!!! Only six players in the history of the game have scored 30,000 points. On this day in 98 I would’ve never believed you’d still be with the Mavs, be an MVP, NBA Champ and in the 30k club no matter how many nights we went back to the gym for 1 on 1 and shooting battles. Unreal, historic, clutch player and better person.”

Indeed, Dirk started from humble beginnings, struggling “mightily throughout his rookie 1998-99 season with the Dallas Mavericks when he conjured up the courage to approach Don Nelson about what he thought was a dire situation.” Nelson (#16 BCIL), who was the Mavs general manager and coach at the time, remembers the conversation like it happened yesterday. I’ll never forget he came to me and said I think I want to go home. So we just had to convince him to weather the storm, it’s going to be great. We loved him and said just don’t worry about making mistakes or whatever was bothering him. I guess he was homesick more than anything.

Yes, when the dominant Animate #10 feels pressure, or feel that they don’t measure up, they seek the comforts of Neverland, or the closest thing to it. Thankfully, the logical #16 was able to talk some sense into Mr. Nowitzki, who ended up staying and never leaving the organization, a rarity in the NBA these days.

But as Steve Nash said, Dirk for years has been known as a “better person,” and that is the accomplishment that really matters. Unlike the self-focused, insecure Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was long known as a jerk throughout his career and only in recent days has turned a new leaf (also thanks to the power of the pen), Dirk is a class-act, and deserves all the credit he has received. Coincidentally, Dirk and Kareem are the only 2 players in NBA history to achieve four consecutive 30-point, 15-rebound post-season games. When it really matters, the normally mild-mannered #10s become more aggressive.

BTI’s Director, Jonathan Niednagel, goes way back with Dirk. Prior to Dirk’s selection in the 1998 draft, Niednagel assessed him off some poor-quality European video tape for Coach Nelson’s son, Donnie Jr. To say the least, Niednagel was excited to find a rare #10, much less one from overseas and 7 tall with skill and a 3 point shot.

Written by: Staff
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