Coming off his NBA Finals win last June, Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki is currently averaging 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game so far this season. A stat line that’s certainly good, and especially solid for a guy in his 13th NBA season, but maybe not the All Star numbers you’d expect from Dirk.
Through these first twenty-two games, four of which Nowitzki’s sat out, the German Big Man is scoring a full six points below his career average at the moment, along with grabbing just about three less rebounds per game as well. So while his Mavs are still in a decent enough position at 14-8 overall, it does make you start to ask: how much longer does Dirk plan on playing?
In an interview with the foreign outlet Ia Gazzetta, Dirk answered that question recently by offering the following (via BallinEurope):
On his future, Dirk said that “I’ll play for at least two more years. Afterward, I’d like to stay in the basketball world. I see myself as a teacher to the kids, but I still don’t know if I’ll do it here in Texas or in Germany.”
Don’t make too much of that teacher-to-the-kids phrase either, all you people like me who speak English as a first, second, and third language, it was translated that way. The point is he wants to give back to the community by helping kids when he’s done, and that’s even cooler than the fact that Dirk rocks out to David Hasselhoff music. The other point is though, that maybe he’s done in two years, and I wonder what impact that may have in the Mavs ability to successfully pursue Dwight Howard.
It probably wouldn’t mean as much to Howard to have the chance to play with twilight years Dirk, but then again if those twilight years keep producing 17 and 6 while commanding the double teams and defensive attention he’d get for five more years on reputation alone, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it helps that urgency to win now as far as D-12 might be concerned, but then again maybe Howard doesn’t want to play in Dallas anyways.
Another aspect I found amusing in the Dirk quotes, published in that same article, is the fact that Nowitzki banned his family from attending this past NBA Finals so he could focus on his game.
However, Nowitzki then add that, for last year’s finals, he left his parents and his sister home because of that 2006 series: “They came in 2006 and it went badly: Too many distractions around. This time I wanted to stay focused. They really got mad at me. And now I regret such a choice!”
So I guess they’ll all be invited next time, assuming there is a next time for Dirk and his Mavericks. Sounds like they’ll have about three more chances for something like that again.