The NBA announced on Thursday, Jan. 30 that Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki would once again represent the Western Conference in the All-Star game. Nowitzki’s streak of 11 consecutive All-Star game appearances was broken last season as Nowitzki missed the first 27 games of the season recovering from knee surgery.
It’s understandable that there would be doubts as to whether 35-year-old Nowitzki could regain the superstar form he once had. Those doubts have been put to rest virtually every time Nowitzki has hit the court in 2013-14. The Mavericks may not be a team with enough weapons to contend in a top heavy Western Conference, but they still have No. 41.
Nowitzki is averaging 21.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting an impressive 48.3 percent from the field. Dirk dropped 38 points and 17 rebounds on the Houston Rockets Wednesday night, the last game he had before the All-Star reserves were named by the league’s coaches.
The year away from the All-Star game added a degree of appreciation to the honor for Nowitzki:
“I have been a part of All-Star Weekend every year since I have been in the league and not being there last year felt strange,” Nowitzki said. “The Dallas fan base has always been great to me and the Mavericks’ organization and the city deserves to be represented at the All-Star Game. I appreciate my teammates for putting me in the best position to succeed and again be named to the Western Conference All-Star Team. I am excited to represent the Mavericks in New Orleans and I look forward to returning to my team and making a great run at the playoffs. ”
Leave it to Nowitzki to use this opportunity to praise the city of Dallas and his teammates but the praise should all fall upon his shoulders. The Mavericks would go from being a playoff contender to a lottery team in the Western Conference without him.
The city of Dallas should appreciate seeing Nowitzki in the All-Star game as long as they can. Franchise players with that level of talent, work ethic, humility and loyalty come around only once in a generation, if at all.
The 2014 NBA All-Star Game will be played at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. The game will air live at 7 p.m. CT on TNT and ESPN Radio.