In a nod to the league’s greatest elder statesmen, the NBA has released highlight videos of the first career 20-point games of four of the greatest players of the generation, a list which includes Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett. Oh, and Dirk Nowitzki.
The German’s first 20-point outing came against Jason Kidd and the Phoenix Suns on April 16, 1999. Nowitzki scored 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds. Little did we know that would be the first of 813 times he reached at least 20 in the regular season. He’s had 238 30-point games and 19 40-point showings, not including playoffs.
Dirk was only a rookie, but you can still see flashes of what was to come: a perimeter face-up game, post-up and ball-handling ability, and knock-down long-range shooting. Later in his career he’d revolutionize the power forward position, win a Finals MVP, and crack the top-10 on the all-time scoring list, but in April of ’99 he was still just a 20-year-old kid from Wurzburg. Check out the full video below.