Dirk Nowitzki is the most underrated superstar in the history of the NBA. Dirk has been many things in the league – a gamechanger, an MVP, and an NBA Champion, among others. But the one thing he doesn’t seem to have is, well, the appropriate attention in the limelight. Despite his achievements, he always seems outshined by bigger media favorites.
But on Tuesday night, Dirk Nowitzki does get the attention he deserves. In a victory over the Lakers, the career Maverick joined rarefied company by reaching the career 30,000 point milestone.
Only five other players have hit this milestone before him: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain. Every one of those guys is in the Hall of Fame, or otherwise bound for it. NBA pundits probably won’t argue that Nowitzki will join them too, soon after retiring. Because even though he’s not always the first choice to slap on a Gatorade bottle or sell a Big Mac, Dirk is one of the greatest.
Here’s 5 reasons why Dirk Nowitzki is the NBA’s most underrated superstar.
Shall we make a list of Dirk’s accomplishments? He’s 13-time All-Star, 12 times honored with an All-NBA nod. He was the 2007 NBA MVP. He’s been to the Finals twice, winning the championship in 2011 along with the coveted Finals MVP Award.
His scoring is well-noted by joining the elite 30K club, but mind that he’s pretty efficient too. He’s a career 47% FG shooter, hitting a respectable 38.1% from long range, and a strong 87.9% on FT’s. Plus, he’s got the single, smoothest, and most iconic turn-around fade away the league has ever seen.
For the record, Dirk has been in the league for 19 years. That puts him in the all-time Top 20, in terms of longevity. More impressive than that is his level of play: Dirk has been a consistent player over two decades. The 13.6 points he’s averaging this season is already the lowest since his rookie year. In every season in between, he’s 17 and 26 points.
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) March 8, 2017
Dirk paved the way for European basketball to make an impact in the NBA. The German 7-footer truly made the league stand out as a global platform in 2000’s. He’s the first (and, until now, the only) European to win the Regular Season MVP Award.
Changing The Big Man Game
Before Dirk, being a power forward or center usually meant stuffing the paint. Mostly, people considered the extent of your scoring to be lay-ups, hook shots, and dunks within ten feet of the basket. But then Dirk became a model of the big man with long range – popularizing styles of play than changed the game. Today, the best big men like DeMarcus Cousins and Kristaps Porzingis have followed suit, becoming threats from 3-point range.
Nineteen seasons with the NBA, and all of them with the Dallas Mavericks. Could he have demanded a bigger salary elsewhere? Sure. Could he have left when the team fell out of contention? Sure. But he didn’t. It’s only a matter of time before the number 41 is retired for the Mavericks.