Dirk Nowitzki “slowest” to 30,000 points; joins MJ, Kareem, Kobe, Wilt

Fittingly Dirk Nowitzki became the 6th player in NBA history to score 30,000 points with a silky high-arching jumper that rained down from American Airlines Center barely touching any rim.

Nowitzki couldn’t miss in the first half. When he hit the baseline jumper in the second quarter over Larry Nance Jr. and the Los Angeles Lakers, he had missed only two shots.

The Mavs would go onto win the game 122-111.

Also somewhat fittingly, of the six players, Nowitzki is the “slowest” player to reach 30,000 points in the NBA regular season. In terms of how many games it took players to get to the 30K milestone, Nowitzki is last. Not known for his blazing speed by any measure, Nowitzki needed almost 200 games more than the next-slowest player on the list (Kobe Bryant).

List of NBA Players with 30,000 points
Player Games to Reach PPG at 30K
Wilt Chamberlain 941 31.9
Michael Jordan 960 31.3
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1101 27.4
Karl Malone 1152 26.0
Kobe Bryant 1180 25.4
Dirk Nowitzki 1377 21.8

Related: List of NBA Players to Score 20,000 Points

Youngest, Oldest Players to 30,000 points
Player Age (days)
Kobe Bryant 34 (104)
Wilt Chamberlain 35 (179)
Karl Malone 36 (189)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 36 (217)
Dirk Nowitzki 38 (261)
Michael Jordan 38 (321)

Nowitzki is actually younger than Jordan when he hit 30,000 points, but Jordan retired for 3-4 years. Anyways, we’ve debunked the “youngest” milestones in past posts — they don’t mean anything and shouldn’t take anything away from the blond bomber. Still people care, so we post the info.

Slowest and oldest (nor does fastest and youngest) doesn’t really mean anything for a milestone so rare and impressive. But it hasn’t been easy for Nowitzki; it’s been quite a journey for the Maverick lifer.

If anyone told us that Nowitzki was going to be an all-time great, much less one of six players to score 30,000 points 18 years ago, you would have been laughed at; memes would have been created specifically for that assertion. Nowitzki wasn’t setting nets on fire during his rookie year in 1998-99, scoring just 8.2 points a game on barely 40% shooting from the field.

Nowitzki’s second year made some people eat their words as he began to find his rhythm in the league. For his second year, the 7-0 German player finished with 17.5 points and a respectable 6.5 rebounds. Over the next several years, Nowitzki would up his reputation, slowly and surely plodding along hitting jumpers, patenting the one-footed fadeaways over smaller players and rainbow three pointers that has delighted the Dallas Maverick fans nearly 20 years.

So how many points is Nowitzki behind the next player on the all-time scoring list and will he catch any of them? Here’s that shortlist of players with more than 30,000 points.

All-Time Scoring List
Player Points (Reg. Season)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38387
Karl Malone 36928
Kobe Bryant 33643
Michael Jordan 32292
Wilt Chamberlain 31419
Dirk Nowitzki 30005
Shaquille O'Neal 28596

To give you some context to how difficult this basketball milestone is, there’s just over 40 players in all of NBA history to have scored 20,000 points. So you can imagine the combination of talent, consistency, discipline, intelligence and luck (as in no significant injuries) to score that “extra” 10,000 points.

The last player to hit 30,000 points was Kobe Bryant back in 2012. Kobe came out in the 1996 NBA draft, while Nowitzki came into the league in the1998 draft where he was chosen with the 9th pick after Raef LaFrentz, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Mike Bibby, and the deceased Robert Traylor.

It’s not over for Nowitzki. Earlier this season, he announced that he plans on coming back for a 20th season. So unless he has an injury, feel free to add another 1000 points to his career totals. Depending on how much he plays and how he performs over the next season and a half — he has a good chance of passing Wilt Chamberlain before retiring. How you doin?

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