Nowitzki has inspired several big men in basketball, including the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. The Joker was asked about his favorite memories of the Dallas Mavericks legend. He provided a response that brought a smile to every Denver fan.
As reported by Mike Singer of the Denver Post, Jokic wasn't enthused by Dirk Nowitzki's scoring ability or his 2011 championship run, but rather his loyalty to one franchise. Jokic said:
"He’s one of the few guys that was playing for one team their whole life, their whole career...He won the title; he won a ring. I really, really admire him. Just because of that. Because he didn’t quit, he didn’t abandon the team. I really admire that."
Dirk Nowitzki's loyalty has been one of his most appreciated attributes. He played for the Dallas Mavericks for 21 seasons, and is the only player in NBA history to play for a single franchise for that long.
Future Hall of Famers like Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, and now Nikola Jokic have all mentioned Nowitzki as an inspiration for his undying loyalty and unconditional love for one franchise and city.
Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen; Stephen Curry has Klay Thompson and Draymond Green; Kobe Bryant had Shaquille O'Neal, and then Pau Gasol. But can we distinctly name Dirk Nowitzki's sidekick or partner?
The German big man stuck with the team through thick and thin, enduring some heartbreaking defeats along the way. It is quite easy to say that the franchise front office didn't do him justice, and should've surrounded him with superstar talent. However, Nowitzki always donned the same jersey, and that is something that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Dirk Nowitzki's no. 41 jersey is getting retired at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Every person who walks into the arena will see his name hanging in the rafters. His name is now synonymous with the city, and a statue of his signature one-legged fadeaway might soon stand outside the building.
Nikola Jokic calls Dirk Nowitzki the 'best European scorer' ever
Dirk Nowitzki's loyalty is always inspiring, but Nikola Jokic admires the German for his scoring ability as well.
In terms of changing the sport of basketball, Nowitzki has inspired several big men to stretch the floor and shoot from beyond the arc. He is the true pioneer of the stretch big man. Many analysts and fans regard the German as the most talented European player ever.
Jokic thinks likewise about Nowitzki, saying:
"(He is) probably the best European scorer...Basketball-wise he was really, really...like a killer...He had that instinct. He could give you 40, 50. He was unstoppable...He’s unique; he’s not something that you can copy"
The Mavericks will host Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors on January 5th, 2022. The jersey retirement ceremony of Nowitzki is scheduled during that game.