Dirk Nowitzki reveals how Charles Barkley influenced him to stick with Mavs
Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki is a part of a rare group we don’t see much of in the NBA these days. He spent 21 years in the league, all as a member of the Mavs. Sticking with one organization used to be the norm, with stars like Dirk, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan the most notable in recent years.
Stephen Curry is also on that list for right now, as he has remained with the Golden State Warriors for 12 straight years. He’s currently the league’s second-longest tenured player with one team, according to ESPN.
In an interview with Nowitzki, the former Mavs star was asked what it was like to play for just one team for his entire career. In his response, Nowitzki named Charles Barkley as a player who inspired him:
“For me, I was prepared to live with the fact that I wasn’t going to win a title. One of my big idols is Charles Barkley. I loved him — that’s why actually in Europe I had No. 14 because he wore No. 14 in the Olympics in Barcelona. And I never have looked at him lesser because he didn’t win a championship. He just happened to run into Michael Jordan all the time. Of course that’s always in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, ‘Man, what if? What if I would have done that?’ But I’m just glad it worked out in Dallas. I really am. And I didn’t have to think about ever leaving this place”
Staying put with one team surely paid off for Dirk Nowitzki, as in 2011, the Mavs won the NBA championship over the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh-led Miami Heat. Barkley is considered one of the best power forwards in the history of the NBA. His greatness rubbed off on Nowitzki, as the former Mavs star now sits alongside Barkley in that same group.