In the end, they all fade away.

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

He sits twenty points shy of 30,000 for his career. He’s won a Championship and an MVP award. The most amazing thing to me is that he’s done it all for the Dallas Mavericks. He will forever be linked to Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant for a couple of reasons:

First, from 1999-2011 no one else represented the Western Conference in the NBA finals. Go look it up.

kobedirktim

Second, They all spent their entire careers with one team. In today’s climate where players are assets to be acquired and dealt it is nothing short of amazing that these men spent 19 (Dirk & Tim) & 20 (Kobe) years with the same teams.

My admiration for Dirk is not exclusive to me or to Mavs fans. He’s done as much as anyone I know to change his initial perception as a soft Euro, to a tough grizzled Champion. His game developed over time as he perfected his flamingo fade away.

It’s as unblockable as the “Sky Hook” and has been mimicked lovingly by all of the stars in this next generation of NBA greats.

He missed the first 29 games of this season as his aging body begins to betray him more and more. On a team with a bad record you could see the angst on his face and in his game. But in the last 30 games or so, he’s had a bit of a rejuvenation and that is in large part to the rest of the Mavericks growing into their own and making a key trade. You can tell he’s having fun again, and recently committed to at least finishing out his contract (next year). He’s always said as long as the game is still fun to him, he’ll keep playing. And Mark Cuban has said, as long as Dirk wants to play, he’s going to pay him to do it.

It’s a cool display of loyalty and ego-checking not always associated with professional sports.

The city of Dallas on basketball life support for much of the past 4 years has a thriving young heartbeat with hope that hasn’t been seen since the Calvin Booth put back to beat the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 2001 playoffs.

Dirk arrived in Dallas the same year I did, 1998. I’ve literally grown up watching him play. Like many my age from my city, he’s our favorite athlete of all time, and it feels great to see him playing with joy and competing every night with a real chance to win. 30,000 points is a lot of jumpers, threes, dunks and free throws, and even though he’ll soon fade away, he’ll never be forgotten.


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