Dirk Nowitzki is arguably the greatest international player in the history of the NBA. The German legend put together a Hall- of-Fame career playing 21 seasons — all with the Dallas Mavericks. A 7-footer with a sweet-shooting stroke, Nowitzki made a career of making tough shots marked by his signature one-legged fadeaway jumper.
And of course, for an international superstar like Nowitzki comes the superstar money. Celebrity Net Worth estimates the one-time NBA champion’s net worth at $140 million. Through 21 seasons, Nowitzki made $251.6 million in salaries alone, per Spotrac.
Nowitzki struggled in his early years in the NBA, but steadily improved and emerged as a star in his third NBA season. Before the 2001-02 season, the Mavericks made Nowitzki the face of the franchise by inking him to a four-year, $48-million extension — his first big payday in the league.
In 2006, after a gut-wrenching loss in the NBA Finals, Nowitzki signed a five-year, $90.8-million extension with an early termination option. The former league MVP exercised that option prior to the 2010-11 season and instead signed a four-year, $80 million extension.
That same season, Dirk had his magical run in the 2011 playoffs to lead Dallas to its first ever NBA championship. This came after years of frustration in the playoffs, including the Finals loss in 2006 and the embarrassing first round exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in 2007.
After that deal ended, Nowitzki signed a three-year, $25-million contract, with a player option on the final year. Nowitzki declined the option in the 2016 offseason, with Dallas rewarding him with a one-year $25 million deal that came with a team option in the second year. The Mavericks declined the option for the 2017-18 season, but Nowitzki gave Dallas another hometown discount, inking a two-year, $10-million deal to rightfully end his career with the Mavs.
Even though Nowitzki finished his career as the sixth-highest paid player of all time, he still could have made so much more. The 14-time All-Star gave up a ton of money during his NBA career. In fact, in the summer of 2014, Nowitzki received max offers from multiple teams. However, as mentioned, he chose to remain in Dallas and in the process, also took an incredibly massive pay cut, signing just a three-year, $25 million deal in order to give the Mavericks more leverage to sign free agents. Nowitzki reportedly gave up as much $72 million with the hometown discount.
Celebrity Net Worth estimates that Nowitzki gave up around $194 million throughout his career as a result of the hometown discounts he gave to the Mavericks. That would have instantly made him the highest-paid player of all time, an honor that fellow all-time great Kevin Garnett holds. Though he did give up a ton of money throughout his career, Nowitzki also benefited from playing in Texas for his entire career by not needing to pay state income taxes.
For an internationally famous player like Nowitzki, he doesn’t have much endorsements to his name. The German legend never had an agent in his career and conducted negotiations on his own. His only known endorsement is his shoe deal with Nike.
As for real estate, Nowitzki owns an 11,000 square-foot mansion in the North Dallas neighborhood of Preston Hollow. He reportedly purchased the property in 2019 for $5.75 million.
The Mavericks were lucky to have an ego-less franchise player for two decades that gave a high priority to giving the team the best chance to win. Even with his superstar status, Nowitzki remained a low-maintenance guy for his entire career and in turn, became one of the most respected and well-liked athletes of all time.