In an era of player empowerment, Dirk Nowitzki is celebrated today as one of the last loyal superstars of the modern game.
After being drafted to Dallas in 1998, he stayed with the organization for 21 years before eventually returning in 2019. Even today, he remains part of the organization, serving in an advisor role within the front office.
But did you know he was thinking about joining another team? According to the star big man himself, he would have looked at other opportunities around the league had his Mavericks not won the title in 2011.
"If we hadn't won the Championship in 2011, I would have maybe looked to other teams near the end of my carrer. Luckily it didn't come to that."
The 2011 Finals may be the most shocking in league history. Dirk and his humble Mavericks faced off against a superpowered Heat team that had the entire NBA on notice.
Somehow, against all odds, Dallas won and captured a Championship in an extraordinary fashion.
And while Dirk may have left without that title, it doesn't take away from all that he achieved with the franchise.
“I think it is fitting. What he has done for this organization, and he poured his heart, sweat, and tears about it, and brought a championship back,” said Devin Harris. "I think it would be a fitting way to end it or begin it. By giving him a piece of that and allowing him to make some of those discussions."
It remains to be seen how things will play out in the future, but fans are hoping that young star Luka Doncic follows in Dirk's footsteps. Who knows, if he stays loyal, and commits to winning, he could usher in an even greater era for the Mavericks.
Whatever the case, Dirk's legacy will never be forgotten and his story is proof that, sometimes, staying loyal pays off in the end.