According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki will officially be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Nowitzki, who played his final game in 2019, will be elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with the class of 2023. This is one of the highest and final honors in a player or coach’s career, capping off a string of honors for the German sensation.
From Wojnarowski’s indication, Dirk will be announced Saturday during NCAA Final Four festivities in Houston alongside a star-studded group from Nowitzki’s time in the league. Among those names is none other than infamous rival Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, as well as San Antonio Spurs icons Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker. Wojnarowski notes Pau Gasol and Becky Hammon are featured as well.
It is poetic in some ways that Nowitzki will enter the Hall with those in which he did his toughest battling. There was a love-hate respect between Dirk and his rivals down south. The final game in his career took place in San Antonio. And while there is probably more hate than love between Dirk and Wade and his Miami Heat, there is also little doubt that fewer players and teams are tied closer to the prime of his career.
This distinction is on the tail of a host of celebrations for the Mavericks’ all-time leading scorer (second is Rolando Blackman, a full 14,917 points behind Dirk). His jersey was retired to the rafters of the American Airlines Center back in January 2022, followed by his statue unveiling in December 2022. It is a storied career, jam-packed full of well deserved recognition. In his 21 seasons, all in Dallas, Dirk averaged 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while revolutionizing the stretch big man position. He was also named 2006-07 league MVP, 2011 Finals MVP, 2011 NBA Champion, 12-time All-NBA, 14-time All-Star, and named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. He leads the Dallas Mavericks organization in nearly every major career statistical category.
More than all the accolades, and there are obviously many, it is his ties to the community around the Mavericks organization that is most impressive. The international superstar has made a home in Dallas, still is present at many home games, and has played the role of special adviser to the front office over the last two seasons. He hosts a variety of local, often celebrity-filled, events through the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation, and continues to give back to a city that supported him through his two-decade career. The nature of professional sports rarely forges that sort of bond between player and city anymore. The ceremony details are still to come, but an exciting weekend is just ahead for Dirk Nowitzki and his family.