Dirk Nowitzki announces he will return for 21st NBA season in Dallas

Jack Baer
Dirk Nowitzki will be playing at least one more season in the NBA after undergoing left ankle surgery. (AP Photo)

The speculation is over and basketball fans can rejoice, Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki is coming back for a 21st season in the NBA.

The future Hall-of-Famer confirmed his intentions to reporters in Dallas on Tuesday. He had previously said that he planned on playing another season last month, as long as health permitted.

Nowitzki’s season ended four games early to undergo surgery on his left ankle, but he still managed to play 77 games in the 2017-18 season at age 39. He averaged 12 points in 24.7 minutes per game, with both representing his lowest marks since his rookie season. He shot .456 from the floor and .409 from 3-point range, grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game for a Mavs team that is currently 24-57.

Nowitzki is currently in the middle of a two-year, $10 million contract signed last offseason that will carry over into 2018-19, when he’ll become the 28th player to play in the NBA at age 40.

“Didn’t miss a lot of games this year, I felt fine most of the time,” Nowitzki said, per video from the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend. “I always said all year I want to fulfill that two-year contract if possible and I saw nothing that was going to stop it.”

The German big man already owns enough accolades to make Hall of Fame induction a breeze when he’s finally eligible. He’s already the all-time leading foreign-born scorer in the league, as well as a 13-time All-Star and sixth on the all-time scoring list with 31,187 career points. While he’s only 232 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for No. 5 on the list, LeBron James is breathing down his neck at 159 points behind.

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