(Reuters) – Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki joined an elite club by surpassing the 30,000 point mark in Tuesday’s match against the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to reach the milestone.
The German sharpshooter earned his 30,000th point on a step back jumper early in the second quarter, then went past the mark on a three-pointer that sent the Dallas American Airlines Center crowd into a frenzy with 9:54 left in the first half.
“Sort of surreal, 30,000 is amazing,” Nowitzki told reporters. “It’s a lot of points, obviously. Every milestone makes you reflect a little bit.
“It makes you reflect on the people that have helped you and been with you all of this way.”
Nowitzki had entered the night 20 points shy of the feat and exploded early to treat the fans who had cheered him during a video tribute.
Mavericks team mates, along with owner Mark Cuban, mobbed Nowitzki during a timeout and the 13-time NBA All Star acknowledged the crowd as his accomplishment was announced over the public address system.
“Just an amazing experience,” the 19-year veteran said. “After every basket I made, I felt a buzz in the crowd.”
Nowitzki joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to have accumulated 30,000 points.
His big night elicited reactions from around the league.
“I gotta congratulate Dirk Nowitzki on putting up 30,000 points. I’m watching the game right now. Congratulations,” LeBron James said on a video tweeted by Uninterrupted.
“There’s no way I was missing this moment. Hopefully I can join you at some point, big fella. Salute.” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also offered his congratulations.
“Throughout his 19 seasons with the Mavericks, Dirk has been a model player and terrific ambassador for our game,” he said in a statement.
“This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA’s greatest players.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney)