Basketball has been riddled with legends throughout recent years. It is no surprise that we have seen so many more recently either, with how the game has changed and evolved over the years, more and more superstars are coming out of the NBA.
But, there are some that shine brighter than the rest. Some of the superstars raise the NBA odds for basketball bettors, some were such showstoppers it would be absurd for them not to be Hall of Famers.
Of course, one of the players we are talking about is Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk Nowitzki was a legendary player, and he was best well known in the 2010s for some incredible play in the Finals.
But we won’t spoil the story for you.
Let’s take a look at his legacy, and what made him the player we know him as today.
Who Is Dirk Nowitzki?
Back in 2011, basketball fans were in shock and awe as the Mavericks won the finals against the Heat. It was Nowitzki who brought the Mavericks their first championship, and it was his first-ever ring too.
But, who was the man behind this miracle? Well, he was the one who made LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade regret scoffing at the Mavericks.
Nowitzki did not start his basketball career until he was 13, he was a pretty late bloomer since many who go on to play pro basketball usually start playing when they are 5 or 6 years old.
His family were very athletic, so it is no surprise that he continued on. He was a West German basketball player, and his father played handball for Germany as well. So, Dirk took after his family, and at 16 years of age he was playing for a German pro team.
By 1998 he was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, however shortly after the draft he was traded to Dallas. We are sure that the Bucks regret this move now.
In his first season he was averaging pretty low. Yet, this season he was starting to take shape, this season he averaged 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 17 points, and 1 block per game.
This was where his career really began.
‘The Fever Game’
The ‘fever game’ is the one in which he was really made. The game got this name as Nowitzki led the Mavericks to victory when he scored the layup that won the game while he was dealing with a high fever of 101 degrees!
Not only did this game help to establish him as the best European-born player, but also as one of the greatest NBA players of all time too.
At 32 years of age in this 2011 showdown, they had a chance to beat the Heat (ironically much?) however, they were formidable, having just recruited LeBron James and Chris Bosh. They were feared and no one thought the Mavericks had a chance.
While they had been doing well, no one thought the Mavericks would last against the Heat.
Nowitzki had the best playoff stretch of his whole career, in the preceding games he was doing well. In Game 4 he averages at a fantastic 28.4 points.
However, he was suffering. He had already dealt with a torn tendon, and then he caught the flu. The night before the game he was shivering and sweating.
His 4th Quarter Fever
The 4th quarter brought it though. In the first three quarters Nowitzki was shooting wide, and he scored a total of 11 points out of 13 attempts. He had some good attempts but not really any lift.
He was still the main player for offensive possession, but he spent much of his time cooling off on the bench with a towel.
They had 10 minutes left to play, and the Mavericks were down 9 points. Nowitzki knew he had to do something, so he summoned what little energy the flu hadn’t taken from him and scored 10 more points.
Meaning he scored more than LeBron James had in the entire game. He had only 30 seconds of play left, and they had a narrow 1 point lead. He turned his back to Udonis Haslem, and darted to the basket for a layup.
This gave the Mavericks the 3 point lead they needed. They held that 3-point lead until the end of the game, making Mavericks history and making Nowitzki one of the greatest players ever.
Dirk Nowitzki made a name for himself not just in the Fever Game, but overall. He was a legend. Even his postseason performances were something of legendary.
He brought the Mavericks back to life in that 2011 game, but he gave it his all, he was a winner at heart and had the sheer determination to keep going even when he was sick and had a high fever.
It is this determination, his urge to win and keep going not matter what is holding him back that is a grand part of his legacy, and he did this with all his games, not just the Fever Game.
Nowitzki was the man who took down the Heat with a fever.
Featured Image: Getty Images