The 11-time All-Star, 2006-07 NBA MVP and 2011 NBA Finals MVP is set to begin yet another year as the centerpiece for the Dallas Mavericks. After coming up short in consecutive superstar chases, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban surrounded the 7-footer with complementary pieces this summer, hoping that the big man has enough left in his tank to carry a franchise.
Think that's too much to ask from a 35-year-old playing a young man's game? Not in his mind.
In a new ad for Mavericks tickets, Nowitzki describes the competitive fire that still drives his basketball engine. He speaks of his desire to stay at the top of his game and the way it gets him out of bed in the morning.
A montage of his highlights suddenly cuts to a closeup of his face. "Do you really think I'm done?" he asks, before the camera pans out for a shot of his silky-smooth shooting stroke.
It's uplifting, inspirational. Former athletes—or former athlete hopefuls in my case—can relate to his words, that feeling of always trying to improve.
At the same time, it's also a really good question. Without knowing exactly what he's asking, though, it's hard to answer.
Is Nowitzki done producing? Not by a long shot. Slowed by knee surgery prior to the start of the 2012-13 campaign, he still finished the year with 17.3 points and 6.8 boards in 31.3 minutes a night.
But is he done being a franchise focal point? He'll still be the go-to man in Dallas, but I don't know how many other teams would ask him to play that role.
The ad is worth a watch. It will definitely get you thinking, although not exactly in the way that Nowitzki might have hoped.