Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (21) officially passed Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant (20) for the NBA record of most seasons played with one team.
After missing the first 26 games of the 2018-19 NBA season due to ankle surgery on April 5, Nowitzki made his debut Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns.
Coming off the bench for the first time since the 2012-13 season, he scored just 2 points in six minutes as the Mavericks lost to the Suns, 99-89.
At 40-years-old and the second-oldest active player in the league behind Vince Carter, Nowitzki’s greatest battle is Father Time at this stage of his career.
Despite taking significant pay cuts in four out of the last five seasons, Nowitzki is hoping the Mavericks can make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
Led by Luka Doncic and Harrison Barnes, the Mavs are currently 15-12, which is the seventh-best record in an extremely competitive Western Conference.
In an era where centers and power forwards are taking 3-pointers more than ever, Nowitzki was ahead of his time and is perhaps the greatest international player the NBA has ever seen.
Along with the 2007 MVP Award, Nowitzki’s greatest accomplishment is easily the 2011 NBA Playoffs. He and the Mavericks defeated Bryant and the Lakers, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and LeBron James and the Miami Heat en route to winning the Finals.