Dirk is One of a Kind
There are a lot of things to respect about Dirk Nowitzki but number one is that he’s NEVER been greedy. Throughout a career that spans 16 seasons, multiple playoff runs, an NBA championship, an MVP, top-10 all-time career scorer, and a sure-bet first-ballot Hall of Famer, he’s always put the team first. How many other players with that pedigree could say the same thing? About as many fingers as you have on one hand, that’s how many. He’s a freak on the court and a freak off the court. Mavericks fans will cry well into the future waiting for another player close to Dirk.
Dirk and the Mavericks announced on Thursday that they’ve agreed to a new three year deal for somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million. That is a drastic pay cut from the previous four years when Dirk earned $80 million of Mark Cuban’s dollars. But just saying those numbers points out what Dirk, and few others, are aware of. That is a hell of a lot of money no matter how you cut it. After covering sports in town for over 30 years I’ve seen plenty of athletes come and go and there’s almost always one constant. They rarely leave money on the table. They see it as “the owner can afford it, he’s worth a billion.” Then after taking the loot, very few of them give anything back. Dirk is different. Dirk doesn’t take less because he makes Jordan or LeBron type of “endorsement money.” Dirk isn’t in any national commercials for deodorant or potato chips so when he walks away from money it doesn’t come back to him through another door.
But Dirk took $16 million less than he could have demanded in his last deal, so the Mavs would have money to pay a supporting cast. He easily could have gotten another $10 million in this deal, and that doesn’t even count the previous contracts he’s signed with Dallas. It’s probably close to $30 million that Dirk has turned his back on. But he saw it, as most average, non-athletes see it; he’ll have made about $110 million with just his last 2 contracts, isn’t that enough? It would be for 99 percent of us, just not professional athletes.
So Dirk willingly takes less to help the team and still plays at a super star level year after year. Do Maverick fans really know what they have? Whether or not Dirk’s charity will result in another title for the Mavs is yet to be seen. He did it so they’d have room for Carmelo if he wants to come, or Chandler Parsons or Luol Deng. After adding Tyson Chanlder, any of those guys would make the Mavs a better team than the one that stretched the Spurs to 7 games in the playoffs. Dirk lives very comfortably in a multi-million dollar house, flies private when he wants to, could own a fleet of luxury cars, could he live any better with another $30 million dollars–probably not. He gets it and the rest of us better appreciate him as much for his personality as his play.