Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki passed John Havlicek for 12th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list with a fadeaway jumper—on his first shot attempt—in Wednesday night's game against the Utah Jazz, per Mavs.com's Earl K. Snead:
Havlicek scored 26,395 total regular-season points during his 16-year career with the Boston Celtics. He was a 13-time All-Star and an eight-time champion who won the 1974 NBA Finals MVP award.
While Nowitzki can't match Havlicek for team championships, he too has a Finals MVP award (2011) to go with 12 All-Star Game appearances and a regular-season MVP (2006-07).
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is no stranger to Havlicek. Though the two were not contemporaries, Carlisle met the Celtics legend several times when he played for Boston between 1984 and 1987. And he believes that Havlicek is a huge admirer of his modern counterpart, per The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko: "One thing I can tell you for sure is John Havlicek is a huge fan of Dirk Nowitzki and what he’s done in his career, not only individually, but from a team standpoint and a competitive standpoint and wanting to take on the responsibility of winning and losing."
The 15-year veteran Nowitzki is already in rarefied air among all-time scorers. He passed Hall of Famers Jerry West, Reggie Miller and Alex English earlier in the 2013-14 season. He also passed current player Kevin Garnett, who has been reduced to a part-time role with the Brooklyn Nets.
If he can keep up his current pace of 21.3 points per game, Nowitzki has a chance to take down 11th-place scorer Dominique Wilkins (26,668 points) and Oscar Robertson (26,710 points) by the end of the season.
But he isn't worried about individual marks at the moment. The Mavericks are fighting for their playoff lives. They came into Wednesday's game in a virtual tie with the Memphis Grizzlies for the seventh spot in the West, with the Phoenix Suns just one game behind.
Nowitzki still has his work cut out for him this year. Passing a handful of NBA legends will just have to be a bonus.
Note: All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!