Mavs unveil Nowitzki statue before Christmas game vs. Lakers

Dec 24, 2022, 10:20 PM | Updated: Dec 25, 2022, 3:32 pm
Dirk Nowitzki's statue is unveiled during the "All Four One" statue ceremony in front of the Americ...

Dirk Nowitzki's statue is unveiled during the "All Four One" statue ceremony in front of the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emil T. Lippe)1

(AP Photo/Emil T. Lippe)

              Dirk Nowitzki's statue is unveiled during the "All Four One" statue ceremony in front of the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emil T. Lippe)
            
              Dirk Nowitzki speaks to his son, Max, during the "All Four One" statue ceremony in front of the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emil T. Lippe)
            
              Dirk Nowitzki's statue is unveiled during the "All Four One" statue ceremony in front of the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emil T. Lippe)1

DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki stood with his son Max, both ready to push the lever that would unveil the statue of the retired Dallas Mavericks star outside the team’s arena.

It already had been revealed that the statue depicted Nowitzki’s signature one-legged fadeaway jumper. Not that there ever was any question.

“That jump shot, just going up to the sky, creating all type of rain,” said Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham, whose team lost to the Mavericks 124-115 in the Christmas Day game that followed the Nowitzki ceremony Sunday.

Nowitzki has a street named after him not far from American Airlines Center, where his jersey is in the rafters. And now there’s a nearly 24-foot statue on the plaza south of the arena, unveiled on a chilly but sunny morning.

“It was emotional,” said Nowitzki, the only NBA player to spend all 21 seasons with the same franchise. “When the thing went up, felt like the sun was just perfect today, just shining right on it.”

The biggest of those multiple moments honoring Nowitzki’s career came on the 11th anniversary of the only other Christmas home game for the Mavericks.

Nowitzki was the face of the franchise then, opening defense of the club’s only NBA title in the lockout-delayed 2011-12 season.

The new face, 23-year-old star guard Luka Doncic, watched the ceremony from just behind Nowitzki with several teammates and coach Jason Kidd.

“I’m just happy for him,” said Doncic, who was Nowitzki’s teammate his rookie year. “He deserves all those things that are happening to him. The statue looks amazing.”

Kidd, Nowitzki’s point guard on the 2011 title team, had to throw in at least a couple of barbs, deciding to poke fun at the defense of the NBA’s highest-scoring foreign-born player.

“They picked the right move,” Kidd told reporters later. “I don’t think they were going to use the swipe (on defense) or him passing the ball. You see his stats on passing? He was a ball hog.”

Sculptor Omri Amrany has created statues of other retired NBA stars in Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal. He worked mostly with Nowitzki mentor Holder Geschwindner, who shaped the 7-foot German’s one-legged fadeaway.

Nowitzki’s family came from Germany along with Gershwindner, and the 44-year-old couldn’t say enough times what it meant to have his mom and dad witness the ceremony.

It came four days after Nowitzki was nominated for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame alongside Gregg Popovich, coach of Texas rival San Antonio, retired Spurs guard Tony Parker and Dwyane Wade, who beat Nowitzki in the 2006 NBA Finals with Miami before losing to him with LeBron James in 2011.

Nowitzki’s title came the year James and Chris Bosh joined Wade and the Heat, who went on to win the next two championships. Nowitzki stayed through some lean final years in Dallas, mostly because he had what he wanted most.

“I’m so happy I didn’t have to do that and it worked out this way,” Nowitzki said. “Once we won the championship, I knew I wanted to be here and finish my career here.”

Nowitzki is sixth on the career scoring list with 31,560 points and the leader in every other significant offensive category for the Mavericks. He is a consultant for owner Mark Cuban and spends most of his time in Dallas with his wife, Jessica, and three children.

As the three-year statue project dragged on, Nowitzki pondered the theme that would accompany the base. When it came time to decide, he said he got lucky in picking something with 21 letters, matching his 21 seasons with the Mavericks.

“Loyalty never fades away.”

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, right, celebrate with th...
Associated Press

Chiefs survive Bengals, get 2 weeks to heal for Super Bowl

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes certainly deserved a game ball from Sunday night’s AFC title game, when the All-Pro quarterback dashed off on his sprained right ankle in the waning seconds to help set up the winning field goal. Travis Kelce probably did, too. With the Chiefs missing three wide receivers because of […]
2 days ago
FILE - Hall of Fame baseball announcer Harry Caray, right, laughs with his grandson Chip in Chicago...
Associated Press

Chip Caray follows grandpa’s footsteps as voice of Cardinals

Longtime broadcaster Chip Caray is taking over as the television play-by-play voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, more than five decades after his grandfather and Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray became a baseball staple with the same club. Bally Sports Midwest announced Caray’s hiring in a statement Monday. The voice of the Atlanta Braves […]
2 days ago
St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch gestures during his State of the City speech Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, ...
Associated Press

Plan outlined for new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark, redevelopment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays will be built near the current one under plans unveiled Monday as part of a massive redevelopment project that also includes affordable housing, office space and retail in what was once a thriving Black neighborhood. Mayor Ken Welch, of St. Petersburg, Florida, […]
2 days ago
FILE - Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Zack Grienke throws against the Seattle Mariners in the ...
Associated Press

AP source: Royals agree with RHP Greinke on deal for 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals and Zach Greinke have agreed to a contract for the coming season, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Monday, making it nine seasons over two stints in Kansas City for the six-time All-Star pitcher. The person spoke to the AP on condition of […]
2 days ago
This image provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment shows Miami's young star Jazz Chisholm Jr. on...
Associated Press

MLB The Show ’23 cover athlete is Marlins’ Jazz Chisholm

MIAMI (AP) — Jazz Chisholm Jr., the Miami Marlins’ Euro-stepping, home-run blasting all-star, has goals beyond his impressive stats. With every stolen base and acrobatic catch, Chisholm hopes to have an impact on the next generation of players. “I had Ken Griffey Jr., who was a real idol to a lot of guys all over,” […]
2 days ago
FILE - Portland Thorns fans hold signs during the first half of the team's NWSL soccer match agains...
Associated Press

US Soccer announces program to ensure player safety

U.S. Soccer has introduced a Safe Soccer program that will require comprehensive vetting of individuals involved in the sport as the federation continues to address its investigation into coach misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League. The Safe Soccer program announced Monday aims to overhaul the criteria for participation in the sport from the youth […]
2 days ago
Mavs unveil Nowitzki statue before Christmas game vs. Lakers