Dallas Mavericks forward, Dirk Nowitzki, could call it quits after this season if he feels that’s what’s best for him.
According to AFP, Nowitzki told German magazine Sport Bild that he’d like to retire at the end of 2018, but he isn’t ruling out ending his career after this season.
“If things don’t go so well and it hurts everywhere, it could be that 2017 will be the end,” said Nowitzki. “Actually, my plan is to complete the 20 years and play for Dallas until 2018. … But just because I have signed a two-year contract doesn’t automatically mean that I will play for two years. It could happen next year.”
Nowitzki is earning $25 million this year from the Mavericks, and the seven-footer has a team option for next season that’s also worth $25 million, per Spotrac.
The start of this year has been rocky for both Nowitzki and Dallas. Dirk has missed 19 games because of an Achilles injury, including the last nine. In the five games he’s appeared in, he’s averaging just 12.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and is shooting a dreadful 35.8 percent from the field.
Father Time is close to winning another battle, and Nowitzki has dodged him for as long as he could
Over the course of his 18 seasons, Dirk has suited up for more than 1,300 games, which puts him 12th all-time. There have only been just three seasons where Dirk played in less than 70 games, and he’s always played a large chunk of minutes for Dallas. It’s safe to say his body is starting to fail him.
Although his last season could potentially be remembered as a year where he was injured, the years before it were astonishing.
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Nowitzki is the greatest European ever to play in the NBA, and he’s got a title (2011), a Finals MVP (2011) and a league MVP (2007) to help justify his greatness. Moreover, Dirk’s been selected to 13 All-Star teams and 12 All-NBA teams.
He sits at sixth on the NBA scoring list, and he singlehandedly made the stretch-four a legitimate position.
Before Nowitzki’s arrival to the NBA in 1998, Arvydas Sabonis paved the way for perimeter-oriented seven-footers, but Dirk widened it exponentially. The most threes made in a season by a player taller than seven-foot was 49, by Sabonis, in 1996-97. Dirk shattered that his sophomore year, nailing 116 at a 38 percent clip.
In today’s NBA, stretch-fours (and even stretch-fives) run rampant, and it feels like everyone has the green light to shoot. Nowitzki desensitized the NBA to that notion, so much so that Europeans are expected to be lights-out shooter once they get to the NBA.
Whether he hangs up his sneakers this year or next year, it’ll be a somber moment. Fortunately, he’ll undoubtedly live on since all bigs from Europe are compared to two players: Nowitzki or Darko Milicic.
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