Dirk Nowitzki made history Thursday when he stepped onto the court against the Suns for his 21st season as a Maverick.
Dirk Nowitzki made history Thursday when he stepped onto the court against the Suns for his 21st season as a Maverick, setting the record for most seasons with a single team.
Dirk Nowitzki checking in for the first time this season. pic.twitter.com/A5eCBd8vBF
— C.J. Holmes (@CjHolmes22) December 14, 2018
Nowitzki, 40, was tied with Kobe Bryant at 20 seasons before making his 2018-19 debut. He finished the night with two points in six minutes in the 99-89 loss.
“Obviously the wind wasn’t great. There was a stretch where I went back-and-forth a couple of times, then I fell over like a tree at some point because I was so tired,” Nowitzki told reporters after the game (via Mavs.com). “But it was good to be out there, and I’m sure my wind is going to get better as we go.”
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added (via NBA.com): “All things considered he did fine, did well. This is a challenging situation for Dirk. Coming back in and re-accumulate mid-stream, with no real live practice time to speak of, but he has been busting his butt big time. I respect the hell out of him for what he has done to get back on the floor.”
Nowitzki had surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle just before the end of last season. The 13-time All-Star was on schedule to be ready for the start of this season before suffering a major setback. He was experiencing tendon soreness before the start of training camp in September, which forced him to push his timeline back.
Nowitzki remains the seventh-leading scorer in NBA history with 31,189 career points.