Training camp for the 2017-18 NBA season started Tuesday, Sept. 26 David Kent dkent@star-telegram.com
Training camp for the 2017-18 NBA season started Tuesday, Sept. 26 David Kent dkent@star-telegram.com

Dallas Mavericks

20 years with the same franchise is another Nowitzki milestone

By Brian Gosset

bgosset@star-telegram.com

September 26, 2017 03:27 PM

UPDATED September 26, 2017 05:35 PM

DALLAS

Move over, Kobe Bryant, you have some company.

Bryant, who retired after the 2015-16 season, became the first player in NBA history to play 20 years with one franchise — the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now he’s one of two players to accomplish the feat.

“Twenty years with one franchise is special,” Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said. “Especially these days with it being a business, it’s a tough thing to do, and any time you’re mentioned with Kobe, it can never be a bad thing.”

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Nowitzki enters his 20th year with the Mavericks, something he could never imagine during the 1998 lockout season. He averaged 8.2 points on 40.5 percent shooting and 20.4 minutes per game during that season.

“As a rookie, I really didn’t have that much fun,” Nowitzki said. “I was more anxious and nervous, and didn’t know if I was going to make it in this league.”

Back to present time and the “Tall Baller from the G” owns nearly every franchise record. He ranks sixth in all-time scoring with 30,260 points, and is 1,160 points away from passing Wilt Chamberlain for fifth.

“It’s been an amazing run, and he’s left the door open that it could go beyond this year, which is great to hear,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “The amount of work he’s put in playing at this level and period of time, it’s almost impossible for most people to fathom. It’s one of the reasons I have such great respect for who he is and what he stands for.”

Last season, Nowitzki dealt with a strained Achilles tendon. He averaged 14.2 points in 54 games played.

Nowitzki still scored his 30,000th point and moved into the top 10 in career field goals made.

“He continues to have fun with this,” Carlisle said. “He’s a guy that loves the work and the process involved with getting ready to play.”

Nowitzki was the 2006-07 NBA MVP and 2011 Finals MVP after helping the Mavericks win their first and only NBA championship.

“Means everything and I’ll never forget that year and the bond with those guys,” said Nowitzki, who averaged 26 points and 9.7 rebounds against the Miami Heat during the Finals. “To start the season under the radar and end up being the best team still standing, it’s something I’ll always remember.”

But there have been lows: the 2006 Finals, 2007 against Golden State and all of the first-round exits.

Through it all, No. 20 for No. 41 has always been a goal.

The Mavericks opened training camp this week. The regular-season begins Oct. 18 at home against Atlanta.

“I don’t care if it’s with one franchise or anywhere, 20 seasons is a long time and getting to this goal means you’ve been fortunate,” Nowitzki said. “I’m happy it worked out in one place and I wouldn’t want it to be anywhere else. The city has embraced me since the beginning.

“Mark [Cuban] bought the team in my second season and just the relationship with him is a big part on why I’ve been here so long. He made the decision to make me the franchise player and stuck with me through a lot of disappointments. I love it here, my family loves it here and that’s a big reason why I made it to 20.”

Dallas Mavericks 2017-18 schedule

Date

Opponent

Time

TV

Oct. 18

Atlanta

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Oct. 20

Sacramento

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Oct. 21

@ Houston

7 p.m.

FSSW

Oct. 23

Golden State

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Oct. 25

Memphis

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Oct. 26

@ Memphis

7 p.m.

FSSW

Oct. 28

Philadelphia

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Oct. 30

@ Utah

8 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 1

@ L.A. Clippers

9:30 p.m.

FSSW/ESPN

Nov. 3

New Orleans

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 4

@ Minnesota

7 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 7

@ Washington

6 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 11

Cleveland

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 12

@ Oklahoma City

6 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 14

San Antonio

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 17

Minnesota

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 18

Milwaukee

8 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 20

Boston

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 22

@ Memphis

7 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 25

Oklahoma City

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Nov. 27

@ San Antonio

7:30 p.m.

FSSW/NBA-TV

Nov. 29

Brooklyn

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 2

L.A. Clippers

1 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 4

Denver

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 6

@ Boston

6:30 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 8

@ Milwaukee

7 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 10

@ Minnesota

6 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 12

San Antonio

8:30 p.m.

FSSW/ESPN

Dec. 14

@ Golden State

9:30 p.m.

TNT

Dec. 16

@ San Antonio

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 18

Phoenix

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 20

Detroit

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 22

@ Miami

7 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 23

@ Atlanta

6:30 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 26

Toronto

6 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 27

@ Indiana

6 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 29

@ New Orleans

7 p.m.

FSSW

Dec. 31

@ Oklahoma City

6 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 3

Golden State

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 5

Chicago

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 7

New York

6 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 9

Orlando

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 10

@ Charlotte

6 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 13

L.A. Lakers

1 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 16

@ Denver

8 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 20

@ Portland

9 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 22

Washington

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 24

Houston

7 p.m.

FSSW/ESPN

Jan. 26

Portland

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Jan 27

@ Denver

8 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 29

Miami

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Jan. 31

@ Phoenix

9:30 p.m.

FSSW/ESPN

Feb. 3

@ Sacramento

9 p.m.

FSSW

Feb. 5

@ L.A. Clippers

9:30 p.m.

FSSW/NBA-TV

Feb 8

@ Golden State

9:30 p.m.

FSSW

Feb. 10

L.A. Lakers

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Feb. 11

@ Houston

6 p.m.

FSSW/NBATV

Feb. 13

Sacramento

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Feb. 16-18

All Star Weekend, Los Angeles

Feb. 23

@ L.A. Lakers

9:30 p.m.

FSSW/ESPN

Feb. 24

@ Utah

8 p.m.

FSSW

Feb. 26

Indiana

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

Feb. 28

Oklahoma City

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 2

@ Chicago

7 p.m.

FSSW

March 4

New Orleans

6 p.m.

FSSW

March 6

Denver

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 10

Memphis

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 11

Houston

6 p.m.

FSSW

March 13

@ New York

6:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 16

@ Toronto

6:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 17

@ Brooklyn

6:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 20

@ New Orleans

7 p.m.

FSSW

March 22

Utah

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 24

Charlotte

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 27

@ Sacramento

9 p.m.

FSSW

March 28

@ L.A. Lakers

9:30 p.m.

FSSW

March 30

Minnesota

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

April 1

@ Cleveland

5 p.m.

FSSW/NBATV

April 3

Portland

7:30 p.m.

FSSW

April 4

@ Orlando

6 p.m.

FSSW

April 6

@ Detroit

6 p.m.

FSSW

April 8

@ Philadelphia

Noon

FSSW/NBATV

April 10

Phoenix

7:30 p.m.

FSSW