A statue of Dirk Nowitzki outside the American Airlines Center. A statue of Dirk Nowitzki outside the American Airlines Center. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports.)

On Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks unveiled a statue of legendary forward Dirk Nowitzki in front of their American Airlines Center arena. The statue, which stands nearly 24 feet high, is the fulfillment of a promise made by Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban at Nowitzki’s jersey retirement last year that Nowitzki would get the “biggest, most badass statue ever.” Here’s how Nowitzki helped unveil that statue, ahead of the Mavericks’ game against the Los Angeles Lakers:

The newly- unveiled statue is based on Nowitzki’s famed one-legged fadeaway jumper. The “loyalty never fades away” message on the base was chosen by Nowitzki, who set an NBA record by playing his entire 21-season career with the Mavericks. That message also happens to be 21 letters long, which Nowitzki said was a fun tie-in:

“I just kind of sat down, like, ‘What do people associate you with in Dallas?'” Nowitzki said. “It was these two things. It was the fadeaway and the loyalty. We kind of combined that. It was just a fun fact that it was 21 letters for the 21 years.”

Here’s a look at the multi-year process that went into creating this:

Maybe the best part of all this came from Nowitzki’s comments on the long-term significance of this, though. Here those are, via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News:

“Long, long after we’re gone, generations after us are going to Google—maybe Google is already gone—and ask ‘who is this guy?'” Now that’s a modern retelling of Ozymandias, from Dirk Bysshe Shelley. Many have looked on Nowitzki’s fadeaway jumper and despaired, and perhaps this statue will keep that going even when nothing beside remains.

[ESPN, Dallas Mavericks and Callie Caplan on Twitter; photo from Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.