Dirk Nowitzki breaks record for points by international player

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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:

Player Birthplace Points
Dirk Nowitzki Germany 26947
Hakeem Olajuwon Nigeria 26946
Tim Duncan U.S. Virgin Islands 24962
Patrick Ewing Jamaica 24815
Rolando Blackman Panama 17623
Steve Nash Canada 17387
Pau Gasol Spain 16723
Tony Parker France 16157
Kiki Vandeweghe Germany 15980
Detlef Schrempf Germany 15761

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:

Player Points
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38387
Karl Malone 36928
Michael Jordan 32292
Kobe Bryant 31859
Wilt Chamberlain 31419
Shaquille O’Neal 28596
Moses Malone 27409
Elvin Hayes 27313
Dirk Nowitzki 26947
Hakeem Olajuwon 26946

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.