Nowitzki savors 'amazing ride' after setting scoring record

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:25pm EST
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - German-born Dirk Nowitzki's journey to become the National Basketball Association's highest scoring non-American player was anything but traditional but the Dallas Mavericks forward still calls it an "amazing ride."

Nowitzki surpassed Nigerian Hakeem Olajuwon and moved into ninth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list on Tuesday when he drained a mid-range jumper during the fourth quarter of a come-from-behind win over visiting Sacramento.

"It was a really special moment to do it at home in front of the fans who have been with me through my 16-17 years here and they gave me a great standing ovation," Nowitzki, 36, said during a conference call on Wednesday.

"At the next timeout they showed a video with moments from my career - that was really special and definitely I had some goosebumps.

"I was just thinking what an amazing ride it has been and how lucky I have been to really come here with an open mind and have people be great to me."

Nowitzki was selected with the ninth pick of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks and then was promptly traded to Dallas later that day.

The shaggy-haired forward averaged 8.2 points during his rookie campaign and, even though he had 17.5 points per game in his second season, it was not immediately clear that Nowitzki would blossom into a surefire Hall of Famer.

Nowitzki entered Tuesday's game needing 17 points to pass Olajuwon, who finished his Hall of Fame career with 26,946 points from a career spent with Houston and Toronto.   Continued...

Sep 29, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) poses for a portrait during media day at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports