Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki from Germany celebrates a basket.
The Dallas Mavericks’ playoff run was shut down by the young, athletic Oklahoma City Thunder in a quick 5 games. But in a series highlighted by young superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the performance of 37 (almost 38) year old Dirk Nowitzki deserves some acknowledgement. The aging German averaged a team-high 20.4 points per game, averaging 33.4 minutes per game, a rarity at such an advanced stage in a player’s career. During the decisive game 5, Nowitzki surged up to 14th on the all-time playoff scoring list, passing Bulls legend Scottie Pippen.
The series was almost a lost cause for the Mavs, who were facing injury problems on top of the already dramatic talent disparity in favor of the Thunder. But the team, led by their gritty superstar, never backed down. They showed constant fight and effort, and didn’t take their foot off the gas until the final buzzer sounded. Said Nowtizki, “All you’re thinking basically is just make one more push, make one more push.” The quote is indicative of the way Nowitzki has played his entire basketball life, and at this stage in his career he is cherishing every moment that he gets to compete in the playoffs.
NBA fans everywhere should follow suit and cherish the few moments left to appreciate the greatness of a one of a kind legend. The humble, loyal, compassionate star has carried the Mavs to 15 playoff appearances in the past 16 years, and we can only hope this wasn’t the last.