Honoring the past. Embracing the future.
That’s where the Mavericks are as they prepare for the 2019-20 season and one of their most meaningful nods to the past will be unveiled soon.
The signature shot in Mavericks history – and one of the most copied and influential moves in NBA history – will be emblazoned on the American Airlines Center court this season, and beyond.
Dirk Nowitzki’s iconic one-legged fadeway jump shot will be silhouetted on both ends of the AAC court, replacing the Mavericks’ alternate logo that was there last season.
“That’s super-sweet,” Nowitzki said Sunday at his Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic on the SMU campus. “That was a surprise to me. It’s of course an honor. I don’t think anybody else has done that before. I’m super, super thankful to Mark (Cuban). I think it was actually his idea for the Mavericks to execute that. It’s going to be surreal going to games and seeing that right there. It’s definitely special.”
It’s all a bit much for Nowitzki, who probably will never get used to having roads named after him or statues of his shot erected. But he understands it comes with the territory.
He’s the NBA’s sixth-leading all-time scorer and will have a stretch of Olive Street in front of AAC renamed Nowitzki Way. While no word has come yet about when a statue will be erected in front of the building, it’s fair to say that the day will come sooner than later.
“Yeah, it’s a lot, but of course, that will be something I’ll always be proud of,” Nowitzki said of all the honors. “If I take my kids to the game in 10 years and driving on Nowitzki Way, I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that. It’s been a beautiful summer, I got to say. Getting honored everywhere. All the sports teams here and went to all sorts of galas and they honored me. It’s been special.
“Of course, I’m thankful that people liked what I’ve done or respected what I’ve done for 21 years. It feels good to know you left something and had an impact.”
Of that, there is no doubt.
Part of Nowtizki’s sheepishness about all the attention is that he knows this is a time of transition for the franchise.
He helped build the franchise into one of the NBA’s model organizations. But at some point, it’s time to move on forward – out of the Nowitzki era and into the Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis era.
But that won’t stop Cuban and the franchise from honoring their past, which is centered on the 21-year career that Nowitzki had, which included the 2011 NBA championship and which ended after last season in historic fashion.
For now, the street name change and the silhouette on the court are proper tributes. The statue – maybe even dual statues with Stars’ icon Mike Modano – will no doubt be on the way.