Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki became just the sixth player in history to score 30,000 points in an NBA career Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The future Hall-of-Famer eclipsed 30,000 with a vintage fade-away jump shot with just under 11 minutes left in the second quarter. Dirk got off to a hot start Tuesday night, hitting his first five shots and recording 14 points in just over five minutes of action.
A packed American Airlines Center crowd erupted in applause for their hometown hero when he hit the 30,000 mark.
Dirk would rattle off 25 points in just 24 minutes as the Mavs beat the Lakers 122-111 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.
Already the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history, Dirk now stands among titans of the game in the 30,000-point club: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419). Julius Erving scored 30,026 points in his career, but played his first five seasons in the ABA.
The milestone comes in a down year for Nowitzki, whose points-per-game average is his lowest since his rookie campaign and whose Achilles injury put him out for more than 20 games earlier this season.
But the Big German has been a model of consistency in his career, which spans three different decades.
He’s averaged 21.8 points per game over 19 NBA seasons, including a stretch of 12 consecutive seasons from 2000-12 in which he put up over 24 points per contest.
In 2010, he became the first European-born player to tally 20,000 points in his career.
During the Mavs’ championship run the following year, Nowitzki recorded nearly 28 points per game in the postseason, including two 40-point performances. He scored 26 points per game in the NBA Finals as the Mavs upset Lebron James and the Miami Heat in six games.
Dirk was drafted ninth overall in the 1998 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, but was immediately traded to Dallas in exchange for Robert "Tractor" Traylor and Pat Garrity. Nowitzki is just the third player ever to play 19 seasons with the same team. He joins Kobe Bryant, a career Laker, and John Stockton, who played his entire career with the Utah Jazz, on that list.
Nowitzki recently told ESPN he plans to play a 20th season with the Mavericks in 2017-18.