Dirk Nowitzki, one of the NBA’s greatest offensive players and global ambassadors, has cemented his status in the league’s record books.
By scoring 17 points against the Kings tonight, the Mavericks star passed Hakeem Olajuwon for most points by an international player:
|Tim Duncan||U.S. Virgin Islands||24962|
Fittingly, Nowitzki’s record-breaking points came on a mid-range jumper, his signature shot. Nowitzki uses his 7-foot height to take shots over defenders unlike anyone has before him. It’s a style developed in Europe, where big men were more commonly taught skills outside the paint.
As Nowitzki’s style has influenced the NBA, he has helped spread the league’s profile overseas. Germany, thanks to Vandeweghe and Schrempf, already had an NBA presence, but Nowitzki took it to a whole other level.
Of course, Nowitzki’s impact is felt here, too. With a championship and increasingly impressive career marks, Nowitzki has a strong résumé when it comes to debating the all-time greats. He now ranks ninth all-time in points:
If Nowitzki matches his scoring total from last season, he’ll pass Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone and Shaquille O’Neal for sixth all time.
Nowitzki is headed to the Hall of Fame. There’s no question about that.
But his legacy – both in terms of on-court brilliance and international impact – isn’t yet fully determined. At 36, he’s still excelling, and with his consistent jumper, no end is in sight.