In what would be a proper (and likely) send-off on a big stage, Dirk Nowitzki has been invited to participate in the 3-point contest at All-Star Weekend.
Dirk Nowitzki is barely playing in his 21st season with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging just 10 minutes per game in the 16 contests he has played, but he’s in line for a proverbial last hurrah on a big stage. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Nowitzki has been invited to participate in the 3-point contest at this year’s All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.
Before Nowitzki arrived in the NBA as a raw lottery pick from Germany, the now prevalent concept of a “stretch-four” was non-existent. He helped redefine how and where a big man could operate effectively offensively, and now power forwards and centers practically have to be a threat from the perimeter as teams have pushed offense out to the 3-point line in the name of efficiency and production.
Stephen Curry gets a lot of individual credit for that evolution, but it was Nowitzki who made it cool for a 7-footer to be a willing and prolific outside shooter.
As Stein noted, this would be Nowitzki’s sixth time as a 3-point contest participant and he won the event in 2006.
It’s unclear at this point if Nowitzki has accepted the invitation, but it should be a formality on his end to accept and be in Charlotte for the festivities on Saturday night of All-Star Weekend. He has not officially announced his plans beyond this season, but the odds are good he retires after playing 21 seasons, all for the Mavericks.
One last time in the 3-point contest, regardless of how he does, would be a fitting send-off on a big stage for Nowitzki. Sentiment aside it’s also a good business move for the NBA, as ratings stand to spike for TNT’s All-Star Saturday coverage when the 3-point contest is coming, in anticipation of seeing one of the all-time greats participate.