Nowitzki hits 30,000-point milestone to join elite club

Dirk Nowitzki is the first international player to score 30,000 points in the NBA. The German was named the Finals MVP when he led the Dallas Mavericks to their sole NBA championship win in 2011.
Dirk Nowitzki is the first international player to score 30,000 points in the NBA. The German was named the Finals MVP when he led the Dallas Mavericks to their sole NBA championship win in 2011.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES •German star Dirk Nowitzki became only the sixth player in National Basketball Association (NBA) history to reach 30,000 career points on Tuesday, as the Dallas Mavericks cruised to a 122-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nowitzki, who needed just 20 points to reach the milestone heading into the game, attained the mark in the second quarter with a fadeaway jump shot.

The 38-year-old now joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the only men to make 30,000 points in the NBA.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver paid tribute to Nowitzki's achievement in a statement, hailing him as "a model player and terrific ambassador for our game".

"This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA's greatest players," he said.

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James - who with just over 28,300 career points could become the next player to break 30,000 - also issued a salute via social media.

"I've gotta congratulate Dirk Nowitzki on putting up 30,000 points. I'm watching the game right now," the 32-year-old said in a video message.

"The big fella, congratulations, boy, on that big 30,000. Woo! And he on fire, too. Hopefully I can join you at some point, big fella. Salute."

Nowitzki finished with a game-high 25 points as Dallas improved to 27-36 to remain on the fringes of the race for post-season places. The Lakers dropped to 19-45.

The German confirmed last week that he plans to see out his two-year contract with Dallas, which will take his career into a 20th season next year. The centre played in only six of Dallas' opening 29 games this season after an Achilles problem. He is averaging 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds over 34 games.

If he returns for a 20th season, he would match the record set by Lakers star Bryant, who played 20 seasons with one franchise before retiring last year.

"Twenty is a great number," he said last week in an interview.

"I think 20 seasons also with one team, like I'm trying to do it - I think only Kobe has done it - that's another great accomplishment. So I kind of want to make the 20 fold.

"Plus that summer I'm turning 40. I think that's also a good number to be in the league... from 20 to 40."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'Nowitzki hits 30,000-point milestone to join elite club'. Print Edition | Subscribe