Playing power forward in the same conference as Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin is a little like sharing a one-tree island with three spider monkeys: Even if you stumble on a coconut, it’s probably because the other guy dropped it.
That’s basically how Dallas Mavericks All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki felt after finding out he won the Western Conference Player of the Week award (POW), per Mavs.com’s Earl K. Sneed:
Monta Ellis announced @dallasmavs practice that Dirk got player of the week. Dirk (jokingly): "I didn't think it was going to happen again."— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) April 7, 2014
Aw, Dirk! That’s incredibly sad! Can I hug your knees?
Nowitzki led the Mavericks to a 3-1 week, averaging 25.3 points (fourth in the conference) and 8.0 rebounds. He connected on 13-of-23 three-point attempts and his .565 shooting from behind the arc was good for seventh in the conference. On April 3, he had 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting and 11 rebounds to help the Mavericks to a 113-107 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
It might seem like Nowitzki—who turns 36 on June 19—is just having a little fun at his own expense. Like the 50-something former rec-league legend with bad knees who twists in an impossible reverse layup and shrugs his shoulders all the way down the court.
Until, that is, you realize the last time Nowitzki won the award was—wait for it—December 12, 2010! That’s three-and-a-half years ago! Humans had just discovered fire, like, two years before!
Seriously, that’s a pretty long time for a guy guaranteed to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Heck, it’s a long time for a guy averaging 21.6 points and 6.2 rebounds on 49 percent shooting (including 40 percent from distance) this season!
Between Durant (six POW awards so far), Griffin (three) and Love (two), Nowitzki’s had to feel pretty left out—like, even more than when the NBA Players Not From Germany Club meets.
Really, though, we’re pretty sure Nowitzki is worried about bigger, better things, like making sure his Mavs—currently holding strong to the Western Conference’s No. 7 seed—are ready for another playoff run.
Still, what we wouldn’t give for an Instagram of a teary-eyed Nowitzki—aging but somehow ageless—being handed the award. I don’t even know what the award is. I bet it’s a piece of purple construction paper with the player’s name in glitter.