Maybe it was meant to be that the Mavericks would be playing in Miami on Saturday – the site of Dirk Nowitzki’s greatest moment.

With the team he spent 21 years with preparing to play the Heat, it came as no surprise to anybody that Nowitzki was officially announced as a member of the 2023 class of inductees to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

It was thrilling and emotional, even for a player who was a no-brainer as a first-ballot hall of famer.

He joins a star-studded group, with Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, Dwyane Wade and several other luminaries joining Nowitzki.

Also heading to the hall for the second time is Nancy Lieberman, who went in as a player in 1996 and will be part of the 1976 silver medal Olympic team that is going into the hall this year.

Nowitzki said on an interview shortly after the class was announced on ESPN that he was “super-excited and super-emotional.”

Nowitzki spent all 21 of his NBA seasons with the Mavericks, finished as the No. 6 all-time scorer in league history and was a true ambassador for Dallas as well as a champion, winning the title in 2011 with a Game 6 victory over Wade’s Miami Heat at Miami.

Nowitzki’s induction will be on Aug. 11-12 at Springfield, Mass. He will join numerous players and coaches with Maverick ties who now are in the hall of fame, including current coach and former teammate Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Don Nelson and Del Harris, who went into he hall last year.

“Well-deserved,” Kidd said on a Bally Sports Southwest video message. “Kind of ironic that we’re in Miami, where we won a championship.”

It may not be the best hall of fame class in history, but it’s probably going to end up on the short list.

And there’s another connection to Dallas. In addition to Nowitzki and Lieberman, former Texas A&M women’s coach Gary Blair, a product of Bryan Adams High School, was inducted.

The announcement, made in Houston before the semifinals of the NCAA men’s Final Four, means Nowitzki is a first-ballot hall of famer.

That he is going in with Wade is noteworthy as they sparred as adversaries many times through the years, including 2006 in the NBA Finals, which the Heat won.

Nowitzki got his revenge in 2011.

In addition, he had countless meetings with Popovich and Parker, both of whom were with the San Antonio Spurs for multiple championship runs.

Nowitzki, 44, retired in 2018 and after the mandatory four-year waiting period, this was the first year he was eligible for the hall.

And so, his list of honors continues to grow, following in the wake of a street named after him in front of American Airlines Center and his jersey hanging from the rafters at the arena and also had a statue unveiled in front of the building on Christmas Day.

Not bad for a kid who came from Wurzburg, Germany, and wasn’t sure he was cut out for the NBA when he arrived in 1998.

He would finish as the only player in the league’s history with at least 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,200 steals, 1,200 blocked shots and 1,500 three-point field goals made.

Twitter: @ESefko

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