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A Mavericks superstar, and fan for life

Nowitzki chosen among 75 best-ever as league celebrates 75 years

NBA championship winner in 2011, Most Valuable Player in 2007 and 14-time All Star Dirk Nowitzki spoke to a group of journalists over a conference call on being named among the best 75 who have played in the league as it commemorates its 75th year.

Nowitzki was one of only six international players in the list and his achievements — 31,560 points for sixth place among scorers in particular — ensured that his inclusion was a no-brainer.

Internationalisation

Nowitzki, who is from Germany, was excited about the internationalisation of the NBA: “It’s been incredible to watch. When I first got in the league, I think every team had maybe one international guy, and [now there are numerous]. It’s guys that have an impact, not only on their team, but they’re franchise players, [who have an] impact on the communities where they come to.”

Nowitzki also holds the record of having the longest tenure for a player who played for only one team — 21 years with Dallas Mavericks.

When asked by The Hindu why only two active players — Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) and Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat) — have stayed with their franchises for more than a decade, he responded: “the NBA is a big business and everybody has a platform and a brand [which they want to maximise]… I’m more old school.

“I was strictly focused on basketball, and I wanted to make it work here in Dallas. When I first got here and Mark [Cuban] bought the team, we got really close, and he was always loyal to me. He made me his franchise player.

“The fans were incredibly loyal to me and wanted me to succeed. It was easy for me to stay here and be a Mavericks fan, a Mavericks player for life.”

Praise for Doncic

Nowitzki was gushing in his praise for his successor as the franchise player of the Mavericks — 22-year-old Luka Doncic.

“He still has so much upside and stuff to learn, and I get to basically see him every other night. His creativity, the way he reads the game, the way he spreads the ball, the way he can score, really from the post all the way out to half court, there are no holes in his game. That at 22 is unbelievable,” Nowitzki said.

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