The great Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks will be 39 in June, which means 40 next June. He’s hopeful he’ll be able to “hold up okay” next year, he told Ernie Johnson in an interview. That’s the last year on his current contract. Dirk’s doing better now he says, after some injuries at the beginning of the season. (And the Mavs are looking much better too, aiming to make the playoffs after a very difficult start.)
Next season will be Nowitzki’s 20th in the NBA and as he considers his 40th birthday in 2018, he told Johnson “that’s probably a good time.” A good time to call it quits, he means. Then Dirk added, “we’ll just have to see how the body holds up.” It wasn’t clear whether he was talking about going beyond that point if his “body holds up” or if Dirk is just hoping to get there. But the latter seemed to be his aim. He’ll hang up his big sneaks with 30,000-plus points, Hall of Fame certainty, and the enduring admiration of the city of Dallas, where all 19 of those years have been spent. Dirk says he got a little lucky, coming into the NBA at the “right time” — just when things were starting to change and open up more offensively. Other observers point out that it may be the other way around — that Nowitzki’s presence helped trigger the change.