Jerry West

As Dirk Nowitzki has recently surpassed Jerry West on the all-time scoring list, it is an opportune time to reflect on the greatness that has embodied this legend’s career. Without a doubt, Nowitzki will end up as a Top 10 scorer of all time. He will have forever redefined the power forward position in the NBA. The new crop of elite power forwards — Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin — look nothing like the historically elite power forwards. Their skill set is geared similar to Nowitzki’s, based on finesse, shooting and fine skill rather than brute force.

Let’s take a deeper look into the prowess of Nowitzki. Very recently, Kevin Durant mentioned that “Dirk Nowitzki might be [his] favorite player in the league” and that he has modeled a lot of his game after watching Dirk as a kid. Durant exemplifies the influence of Nowitzki as he has fully solidified the one-legged fadeaway in his own repertoire. But, Nowitzki’s legacy goes just beyond his skill set or his fadeaway. His international influence can be seen by the fact that he will go down as the greatest European basketball player ever. He revitalized the sport of basketball on a continent that was mostly nonchalant to it. The fact that he is a perennial All-Star, a championship winner, and an NBA Finals MVP only adds to his fame.

One of the prerequisites of being an All-Time Great is changing the game of basketball itself. Nowitzki has done more than that. The NBA will never be the same once he retires. It will have lost the greatest big man shooter, father of the fadeaway, the greatest European basketball player, and so much more. Nowitzki will retire as a true legend.