Dirk Nowitzki’s last couple seasons have been crammed with milestones and accomplishments of historical significance. He’s entered the top-10 on the NBA’s all-time career scoring list and recently moved up to sixth place, passing Shaquille O’Neal in late December.

Tonight in Milwaukee, he’ll add another impressive achievement to his already long list, as he’ll become just the 17th player in NBA history to play in 1,300 NBA regular season games.

It requires a bit of luck, sure, to play so long in this league. You have to avoid career-altering or career-ending injuries, of course, to last at least 16 seasons. But you also have to avoid the small bumps and bruises and work responsibly through potentially nagging injuries. Nowitzki is notorious for taking tremendously good care of his body. He follows a very strict diet and doesn’t drink alcohol during the season. He spends more time with the Mavs trainers than some of us do with our family. There’s perhaps no one in the NBA better in tune with his own body than Nowitzki, and that’s been a huge reason why he’s missed only 83 games in his career due to injury, illness, suspension, rest, or DNP-CD.

The list of players with at least 1,300 games under their belt is full of familiar names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Mavs legend Jason Kidd. But it also includes some names you might not expect, such as Clifford Robinson and Buck Williams, who rank ninth and 14th, respectively, on the career games played list. Nowitzki will tie Ray Allen with game No. 1,300, and he’ll likely pass Williams and Elvin Hayes on the list by the end of the month. Health permitting, he’ll end the season ranked 11th on the list, with a very strong chance of passing Kidd (currently seventh all-time) next season.

Just for fun, here’s how Nowitzki’s career numbers stack up against other members on the illustrious list.

  • He’s fourth among the 17 players in career points scored, at 28,708. It’ll be tough sledding to pass Bryant, who currently sits roughly 4,200 points ahead on the list. It should be noted, as well, that Nowitzki has played just 11 fewer career regular season games than Bryant, who was drafted two years earlier.

  • He’s fifth on the list in three-pointers made with 1,629, ahead of guards Gary Payton and John Stockton. Nowitzki has an outside shot of passing Bryant next season, currently at 1,751 career treys, as the Lakers legend has said he plans to retire at the end of this season.

  • Incredibly, Elvin Hayes (1,358) is the only player on the list with fewer career turnovers than Nowitzki (2,323). Considering how often Dirk has played in isolation or fought through double-teams in the post, it’s stunning how well he’s been able to take care of the ball. However, he will likely end up with more career turnovers than Reggie Miller (2,409), unless he takes extremely good care of it moving forward.

  • At 58.1 percent, Nowitzki is fifth among the group in true shooting percentage, just ahead of Ray Allen (58.0) and slightly behind Buck Williams (58.7). Williams and Abdul-Jabbar were primarily post-up players, combining to sink just six three-pointers in their careers. Dirk, meanwhile, is a 7-footer with a career 38.3 three-point percentage, and he also has hit 87.9 percent of his free throw attempts, which ranks third among the 17 players. Both of those stats play in to calculating true shooting percentage, one of the best measuring sticks for gauging shooting efficiency.

  • At 195.6, he ranks fifth among the group in career win shares, an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Nowitzki ranks seventh all-time in that stat, and has a chance at passing Tim Duncan, should the German continue to perform at this high a level in the future.

    You didn’t exactly need me to tell you this, but Nowitzki is as unique a player as he is legendary. No matter how you slice it, he stacks up well against the very best to ever wear a uniform, and he’s done it all in Dallas. Here’s to another hundred games for the greatest Maverick there’s ever been.

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