Dirk Nowitzki Becomes 17th to Reach NBA's Elite 25,000-Point Club

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 14, 2013

With a mid-range jumper over Robin Lopez, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki became just the 17th player in NBA history to score at least 25,000 points.

The milestone has to come with something of a bittersweet flavor for the German big man, as his Mavericks are completing one of the most disappointing seasons in recent franchise history. After a dozen-year stretch of playoff berths, Dallas will be watching the postseason from home this spring.

Still, Nowitzki's achievement is remarkable, and his career point total ranks behind only two other active players:

Dirk Nowitzki is the 17th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points. The other active players are Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 14, 2013

However, "active" is hardly a term that applies to Kobe Bryant these days.

Speaking of which, it'd probably be a good idea to appreciate Nowitzki's sustained excellence while he's still around. Along with Bryant's injury, the lottery berth for the Mavs has led to a postseason dance card we haven't seen for nearly 20 years:

The last time we had an NBA Playoffs without Kobe Bryant or Dirk Nowitzki was 1996.

— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 14, 2013

Recognizing that the era of Dirk and Kobe is coming to an end is sort of a bummer, though. It's more appropriate to turn our attention to happier matters, like Mark Cuban's exuberant congratulations to his franchise player:

Yes sir Dirty!!!

— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) April 14, 2013

It's probably best not to speculate what led to the nickname Cuban dropped, although it likely originated sometime during the Mavs' notoriously epic celebration binge after winning the 2011 NBA Finals.

Or maybe it's the beard. That thing looks pretty unkempt.

The squeaky-clean jumper from the man apparently known as "Dirty" has been good for 25,000 points so far, but if Nowitzki manages to maintain his career average of about 1,600 points per season, he could find himself as high as No. 7 on the all-time scoring list in two years.

Jump shooters tend to hang around longer than players who rely on their athleticism, so there's a good chance that Nowitzki has plenty more seasons left in him. So stay tuned—it may not be too long before Cuban's congratulating his favorite Mav on surpassing the 30,000-point mark.