During his 18 years in the league, he's sunk 1,682 threes in 1,328 games while averaging 22 points per game. He helped deliver the Mavericks franchise its first and only NBA title and has paved the way for big men like Kristaps Porzingis thanks to his versatility.
He's also apparently a fan of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who has perfected the art of three-point shooting. Nowitzki spoke about the Warriors guard and the three-point game with ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon on Friday:
I mean, I don't think this league has ever seen anything like it [Curry]. His range is basically as soon as he crosses half court. He's making shots look routine that no other player can even make in practice consistently. He just makes it look effortless. He just kind of goes up from the dribble in one motion, doesn't waste any effort there. Incredible.
He's so much fun to watch. When he's in the zone, I catch myself screaming at the TV, 'Shoot! Shoot!' as soon as he crosses half court. It's so much fun to watch.
Curry, who's in his seventh year in the league, has led the NBA in made three-pointers during each of the last three seasons and is well on his way to doing so for a fourth straight year. In 65 games this season, he's already sunk 336 threes, shattering his old record of 286, set last season.
In 11 fewer seasons in the league compared to Nowitzki, Curry already has made 1,527 long-range shots, just 155 fewer than the Mavericks big man.
Nowitzki explained why he and basketball fans root for Curry: "He's a smaller guy. Obviously, he's quick, but the way he makes it is with skill. That's why everybody is rooting for him, because everybody can relate to him."
He pointed out that Curry is so difficult to guard because of his quick release and his ability to shoot from basically anywhere on the floor.
And that really does mean anywhere. During the season, Curry has hit 39 of 66 field-goal attempts from between 28 and 43 feet, which is a 59.1 percent clip, per Basketball-Reference.com.
That kind of long-range prowess could change the game, and Nowitzki presented a possible idea for the league down the road:
Obviously, a lot of kids now are going to try to imitate that and shoot 3s from deep. Maybe in a few years, that's normal. I don't know. If kids start shooting at an early age, start hoisting runners from 40 feet, maybe 10 years down the road you do have to move the 3-point line back. But as of now, he's really the only guy that can make those over and over and over. If you watch his pregame, he does that all the time. He's a freak.
Even though he's a conference opponent to Curry, Nowitzki realizes that he's seeing a once-in-a-generation talent who's taking the league by storm. He, like the rest of us, is simply enjoying the show.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com