Dirk Nowitzki eating his way through retirement and loving it

Associated Press
3 Comments

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki eventually plans on working out again. The recently retired star of the Dallas Mavericks wants to stay in somewhat decent shape.

The big German hasn’t put a timeline on it — he’s assuming several more rounds of pizza and ice cream will come first.

Nowitzki looks relaxed and happy, with a neatly trimmed beard surrounding a wide smile, nearly two months after announcing his retirement on the court after his final home game in his record 21st season with the same franchise.

“It’s been everything I dreamed of, drinking, eating everything in sight,” Nowitzki said after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Texas Rangers game this past week. “On vacation without really worrying about anything, about staying in shape. I’m going to start working out again and enjoying that. But as of now, I have zero motivation to go work out.”

The 40-year-old wants to spend time with his wife and three children and visit Germany more often to see his aging parents.

During the emotional ceremony after the home finale, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban promised the best player in franchise history a job for life. Nowitzki says it’ll be at least a few years before he takes Cuban up on the offer — or decides to do something else.

“I’m sure there’s another challenge out there waiting for me,” Nowitzki said. “As of now, I don’t think that’s something I think about. I want to do some stuff that I wasn’t able to do the last 20 years. Eventually, that’s going to get a little old and I need a new challenge in life.”

The city of Dallas has started the process of renaming a portion of a street near American Airlines Center to Nowitzki Way. A few weeks before throwing out the first pitch at a Rangers game, Nowitzki tried a penalty kick during halftime of an FC Dallas soccer match — unsuccessfully, according to young heir apparent Luka Doncic .

Nowitzki also hosted his annual charity baseball game, featuring Dallas Cowboys stars Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The event always sells out a 10,000-seat minor league stadium north of Dallas, but the 14-time All-Star wondered if brisker sales this year had anything to do with his retirement.

He’s noticing those sorts of things more now and pausing to consider why people approach him in public to thank him for staying in Dallas for one of the longest careers in league history.

“That means a lot,” said Nowitzki, who broke a record Kobe Bryant held at 20 seasons with the Lakers. “When you’re so busy and trying to keep winning games, you never really take a step back and really soak that up or really get the grasp of how many lives you’ve touched over two decades.”

The early part of the offseason has always been about unwinding for the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history.

But this one has been different — the smiles while talking about taking the kids to Disneyworld, the jokes about weight (already at least 20 pounds over his playing days). But Nowitzki says at 7 feet, “you can hide it pretty good.”

“He’s already put up hall of fame numbers, and I think he’ll show the stamina and the stability to be able to eat ice cream for the next 30 years,” Cuban said, joking. “Probably the happiest man in Dallas right now is the guy who makes Dirk’s suit.”

When he retired, Nowitzki made no secret about plans for his next big party. It’ll be June 19, when he turns 41. That’s the number that will soon hang in the rafters of the 2007 MVP’s old home arena — and a number that’s iconic for fans who celebrated the franchise’s only championship with their NBA Finals MVP in 2011.

Nowitzki has been hit and miss on watching the playoffs because of the travel. He saw some of the early games, including Kawhi Leonard’s improbable series-winning jumper for Toronto against Philadelphia in the second round.

Nowitzki says he sat there thinking, “You’ll never get to do that again. So that was a little bit a sad moment.”

But for Nowitzki, who is sixth on the NBA scoring list with 31,560 points, the feeling didn’t last long. And there haven’t been many since he’s retired.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

0 Comments

Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
Rob Carr/Getty Images
0 Comments

It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
0 Comments

Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
0 Comments

With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.