Dirk Nowitzki Becomes 6th Player in NBA History to Reach 31,000 Points

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 1, 2018

Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki shoots a free throw in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Kim Raff)
Kim Raff/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki became the sixth player in NBA history with 31,000 career points during the second quarter of Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center.

As he has done so many times throughout his Hall of Fame career, Nowitzki hit a turnaround fadeaway—this one with Jerami Grant in his face—for the historic moment:    

Nowitzki has joined a group that includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.

Though he's within a reasonable distance of catching Chamberlain's 31,419 points before the 2017-18 season ends, Nowitzki said he wouldn't force the issue. 

"You see it all the time," he told Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. "The number was, what, averaging 14 or 15 a game [this season], which is a tough ask, obviously, at 39 [years old]. And the one thing I didn't want to do is just shoot shots to get a milestone. I want to play within myself and within the team and be out there as much as I can." 

While no longer the prolific scorer he was in his prime, Nowitzki remains one of the NBA's most efficient offensive players. 

The Mavs legend is on pace to tie his career high with a 42.1 three-point percentage this season. He also ranks second on the team with 5.7 rebounds per game. 

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