Loyalty Never Fades Away: Dallas Mavericks Honor Dirk Nowitzki with Statue
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 440
Dirk Nowitzki's career with the Dallas Mavericks was truly one for the ages. He was with the team for 21 seasons, during which he made 14 All-Star appearances and was named to the All-NBA team four times. In 2007, he became the first European player to be named the NBA's Most Valuable Player.
By the time he retired, Nowitzki had scored a total of 31,560 points, making him the sixth leading scorer in NBA history. To honor his many years of service and contributions to the team, the Mavericks unveiled a statue of Nowitzki in front of their American Airlines Center on Christmas Day.
The statue depicts Nowitzki in one of his signature poses – the Fadeaway, a jump shot made while jumping backwards. "It's a promise that gives me joy to deliver on, because you earned it," Cuban told Nowitzki on Christmas morning.
The statue was created by Israeli-American sculptor and painter Omri Amrany, who is known for his sculptures of some of the greatest players in NBA history, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
"One more stop: the Hall of Fame,"
At the foot of the statue is written the phrase "Loyalty never fades away," a fitting tribute to Nowitzki's long and dedicated tenure with the Mavericks. The team also retired his number 41 jersey on this day last year.
"It had to be a fadeaway one-legger," LeBron James said of Nowitzki's statue after the Mavericks' 124-115 win over the Lakers. "It had to be. No question about it. Dirk is a legend. He's an icon. I think he's the greatest international player ever.
I put him right there with Manu [Ginobili]. But what he brought here, what he brought to this city ... that boy was cold, man. Dirk was cold." Nowitzki's former teammate and current Mavericks coach, Jason Kidd, had nothing but praise for the German star.
"One more stop: the Hall of Fame," he said. Indeed, it seems only a matter of time before Nowitzki is inducted into the NBA's Hall of Fame and takes his rightful place among the all-time greats. "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."