The former basketball player Dirk Nowitzki is apparently given a very special honor. According to a media report, the 44-year-old is one of six superstars in the sport who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the North American professional league NBA this year. The official announcement should take place next weekend, reports the usually well-informed US sports broadcaster ESPN.
Nowitzki had played for the Dallas Mavericks from 1998 until his retirement in 2019 and had matured into one of the best players of his generation during this time. In 2007 he was named the NBA's most valuable player, in 2011 he led the Mavericks to their first and only NBA title and was also named the Most Valuable Player of the Finals. With 31,550 points, the Würzburg native is sixth on the list of the most successful basket throwers in the NBA.
In honor of Nowitzki, his longtime jersey number "41" will no longer be assigned by the Mavericks. A statue of the seven-foot-tall giant was also unveiled in front of the Texan Arena on Christmas 2022.
The other longtime NBA stars who can look forward to a spot in the Hall of Fame are Dwayne Wade, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, Becky Hammon and Gregg Popovich, according to ESPN. Wade won three championships with the Miami Heat, was a 2006 NBA Finals MVP, a 13-time All-Star and a 2008 Olympic gold medalist for the USA.
Spaniard Gasol won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant and was a six-time All-Star and two-time Olympic silver medalist for his country. Frenchman Tony Parker won four NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, was also an All-Star six times and was the 2007 MVP of the Finals.
Popovich is the most successful coach of all time in the NBA and led the Spurs to five championships. Hammon was a six-time All-Star during her WNBA career and won the WNBA championship with the Las Vegas Aces last summer in her first season with the team.
The induction ceremony for the Class of 2023 Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts is scheduled for August 12, according to ESPN.
Sources: ESPN, DPA