Let’s get this clear; it was never a realistic consideration for Dirk Nowitzki not to resign with Mavs this offseason, nor for the Mavs to not resign him. Dallas is the only NBA home Dirk has known over the course of his 12 years of service, and considering the new 4-year deal is now official, it certainly appears the Mavericks have no intention of letting the longtime face of their franchise don another team’s jersey. Seeing a player, especially a superstar in today’s volatile NBA climate, stick with the same team for what will amount to 16 years, were he to play out his entire contract, is a refreshing change of pace. Looking down to South Beach, where the Miami Heat’s new high-prized second banana is drawing league-wide criticism, Dirk’s decision is exactly what a lot of fans across the country had hoped would happen with James and Cleveland. A sense of ownership for a team’s long term success, a sense of loyalty, heck, the general sensibility not to carve out the collective heart of your devoted followers on prime time television, all of this is why Nowitzki’s legacy in Dallas, and throughout the NBA, will go down as a great one, whether or not he ever hoists the trophy at year’s end.Winning is important, no doubt, after all that’s why we play sports. But Dirk has been a consistent winner throughout his career, leading the Mavs to the playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons, even if the biggest win of them all has eluded him. The willingness to stay put and chase that goal with the same city on your back is an admirable endeavor, with the temptations of free agency well documented this summer. Like Jordan was “the man” in Chicago, Bird was “the man” in Boston and Kobe is “the man” in L.A., the seven-foot German will go down as Dallas’ man, whether or not that title comes with an NBA title of its own.
August 18, 2010
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