Monday was the first time since the 1997-’98 season that the Dallas Mavericks hosted Media Day without Dirk Nowitzki on their roster.
The absence of their long-time superstar, who retired following last season after spending his entire 21-year career with the Mavs, wasn’t lost on coach Rick Carlisle.
“It’s different, for sure,” Carlisle said. “I’ve been saying this for the last two or three years that when Dirk was no longer here it would be the end of the world as we know it, like that song goes.
“It’s real sad on some levels, for sure. Here’s a guy that gave every last ounce of everything that he had to this organization, to this fan base, to the other teammates that he had over a 21-year period.”
Nowitzki, 41, went into retirement with 14 appearances in the All-Star game. He also was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2007 and led the Mavs to the league championship in 2011.
Injuries, however, caught up with Nowitzki during the latter stages of his career as he missed 64 games over his final three seasons. But in the final two games of his career, Nowitzki tallied a season-high 30 points in his home finale against Phoenix and added 20 points in his career closing game against San Antonio.
“It (would) be great to have him back again,” Carlisle said. “I just don’t think he’d be physically capable of going out there.
“He really expended a lot last year. The fact that he was even able to get back and perform and do the things that he did, especially in the last two games going for 50 points in two games, what an ending to really one of the storied careers in NBA history.”
Carlisle compared Nowitzki’s retirement to that of Hall of Fame guard Reggie Miller, who played his entire career with the Indiana Pacers from 1987-2005. Carlisle was an assistant with the Pacers from 1997-2000, and was their head coach from 2003-’07.
Carlisle said: “While it’s scary not having a guy like Dirk any more the same way it was scary when Reggie Miller decided to retire with the Indiana Pacers, how couldn’t you possibly be more excited about the opportunity if you’re a Mavs player right now?”
NOTES: Back in the mid-1980’s, the Houston Rockets used to play 7-4 Ralph Sampson and 7-foot Hakeem Olajuwon together. Back then they were known as the Twin Towers. Well, the Mavs have their own version of the Twin Towers in 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis and 7-3 Boban Marjanovic. But will they ever be on the court at the same time? Coach Rick Carlisle said: “If they’re on the roster and they’re active, it’s always possible.”. . . As he returns to the court for the first time this season since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament on Feb. 6, 2018, Porzingis is laser-focused on one thing. “In my mind we have to make the playoffs,” he said. “That’s the goal for us. There is no other goal for us. We’re going to put in the work necessary to get to that point, but the Western Conference is extremely tough.”. . . Rick Carlisle played golf Sunday with Seth Curry. “You’ll be happy to know his golf game is progressing as well,” Carlisle said of Curry. “He shot his best round of his life yesterday. He shot 81. He was my partner, too.”. . . The Mavs will have training camp Tuesday-Saturday, host a Fan Fest on Sunday and open preseason play on Oct. 8 in Tulsa against the Oklahoma City Thunder.