|Dirk Notwitzki became the 17th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points for his career. (streetball.com)|
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has racked up plenty of accolades over his 15-year NBA career.
Already the possessor of 11 All-Star nominations, an MVP and NBA Finals MVP award and a NBA Championship, Nowitzki is now the 17th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points in his career. Nowitzki joins elite company in Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett as the only active players to achieve the scoring mark. The next closest active players are Paul Pierce (24,010), Ray Allen (23,781) and Tim Duncan (23,745). Dirk now needs less than 200 points to pass Jerry West for No. 16 all-time in scoring.
More impressive is Dirk became one of nine players all-time to score 25,000 points and grab 9,000 rebounds. The other names on the list: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Garnett. Not bad company.
This milestone further cements Nowitzki's legacy as a player, which is likely to end in the hall of fame, but bigger than his career was that the German-born player's success led the way for the current tend in the NBA. There may not be a 7-footer in the game with a better, smoother, shooting stroke and his European style of play, where big men routinely play outside the paint, is now a normal part of the NBA game.
Dirk's success also had to have an impact on the NBA's international reach. The NBA is filling with international talent who are in the league thanks to Dirk's, and other foreign players of his time, ability to translate the European game to the NBA. No one has made the transition better than the 7-foot German, as proven by the fact that Nowitzki's NBA MVP award is the only won by a European-born player.
Nowitzki has accomplished nearly everything he could have in the game and soon another tall, sweet shooting European player will take his place trying to emulate the 7-footer. This is Nowitzki's greatest gift to the NBA.