Dirk Nowitzki has accomplished a lot in his storied NBA career, but one of his most impressive feats is his lengthy tenure with one team.
The Dallas Mavericks acquired Nowitzki via a draft-day trade with the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1998 NBA Draft. Dallas has been Nowitzki’s only home in the NBA, as the 2017-18 campaign will be the forward’s 20th season with the Mavs.
Staying with one team has become an increasingly uncommon trend in the modern NBA, as players, understandably, opt for teams that can provide them with the most money and/or the best chance of winning. But for Nowitzki, loyalty to the Mavericks was important.
“I think I’m old school,” Nowitzki told Sirius XM Radio on Thursday. “Some of these guys that now are stars are obviously younger and the business has changed a bit. I never knew what to expect when I came to Dallas, but everything just came together here. The way, when I got here, that the community kind of embraced me and wanted me to succeed. (Mavericks owner Mark) Cuban buying the team by the end of my second year was a huge part why I was here my entire career. He was a huge supporter of mine, he’s a friend of mine and he always supported me on and off the floor.
“For me, it was easy to be loyal, but I understand the new NBA is a little different. It’s about making money, it’s about winning and not as much about being loyal anymore.”
The NBA has seen an abundance of superstars find new homes in recent seasons. Kevin Durant sent shockwaves around the league last summer when he joined the Golden State Warriors in free agency, while Kyrie Irving’s wish to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason came as a surprise as well.
Given the current state of the league, it seems as though Nowitzki is the last of a dying breed.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images