Dirk Nowitzki was already an all-time NBA great by any measure, but on Tuesday evening against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks legend reached even more rarified air with a particular milestone. Nowitzki needed 20 points to reach 30,000 in his NBA career and the future Hall of Fame big man managed to get to that point in the first half.
Here was the history-making bucket for Nowitzki.
Nowitzki joins a very exclusive group, becoming only the sixth player in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point plateau. Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant make up the rest of the six-man crew, with Julius Erving standing on the periphery on the strength of a combined 30,000 points between his days in both the ABA and NBA.
Nowitzki got elevated to this point against the Lakers after a monster first quarter in which he scored 18 of the 20 points he needed to reach 30,000 for his career.
While reaching 30,000 points is obviously a massive accomplishment on its own, Nowitzki’s performance is doubly noteworthy as he is the first international player to achieve the milestone. Much like his contemporary in Bryant, Nowitzki’s entire career has been spent with a singular team and, for that fan base, this is yet another reminder of his incredible contribution to the game in Dallas.
At this point in his career, it would be nearly impossible to find anyone with an ill word to say toward Dirk Nowitzki and he might have the single highest approval rating in the current NBA. His place among the game’s legends was secure long before this, but 30,000 career points over 19 seasons should provide even more ammunition when trying to push Nowitzki into the pantheon of the best NBA players ever.