The NBA has changed a lot over the years. Years ago, it was taboo for a star player to bounce around the league. Now, it's almost expected for the best players to pursue a title at any cost, even if it means jumping ship to team up with other stars (like James Harden and Ben Simmons).
For basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki, the new trend isn't something he fully supports. In a chat on SI’s Crossover podcast, he explained his stance:
“It's definitely new,” Nowitzki said. “We always felt like we the players didn't have enough power at the beginning of my career (in 1998), and the owners had all the power, could make all the moves. And now it’s almost shifting like a little bit too much. I think there should be like a happy medium. But now the players forcing themselves out, to me is not the way to go, either.”
“I was old school,” Nowitzki said on the podcast. “I don't want to sit here and judge these guys that are doing that. I think everybody has to know what's best for themselves, for their career, for their brand—you know, everybody has a brand now— and what's best for their family. For me, it was staying in Dallas. It worked out great there. And I've had my family there and I loved it and I grew into that community. So that's something that just worked for me. But of course, I get it. It's not for everybody.”
Dirk stayed in Dallas for 21 years, cementing his status as one of the best players in the franchise's history. By the time he retired in 2019, he was a 14x All-Star, 12x All-NBA player, and 1x Champion.
Looking back, it's safe to say that sticking around and staying loyal to the Mavs worked out in his favor.
Unfortunately, that sort of commitment is becoming increasingly rare in the league today.