Germany's Dirk Nowitzki has become just the sixth player in NBA history to crack the 30,000-point mark. The Dallas Mavericks player is also the first non-American to reach the milestone.
The Dallas Mavericks power forward earned his 30,000th point on a step-back jumper early in the second quarter on Tuesday night. He then went past the mark on a three-pointer that sent the American Airlines Center crowd into a frenzy with 9:54 left in the first half. Nowitzki ended the match with 30,005 career regular season points.
"Sort of surreal, 30,000 is amazing," the Würzburg native said. "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."
The 38-year-old Nowitzki had gone into the contest in which the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 122-111, 20 points shy of the mark.
Nowitzki's teammates and Mavs owner Mark Cuban mobbed the German during a timeout and the 13-time NBA All Star acknowledged the crowd as his accomplishment was announced over the PA system.
"Just an amazing experience," the 19-year NBA veteran said. "After every basket I made, I felt a buzz in the crowd."
Nowitzki is just the sixth NBA player to reach 30,000 points after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. He is also the first non-American to reach the milestone.
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James was among the first to congratulate him on the achievement.
"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 message. "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 congratulated Nowitzki.
"Throughout his 19 seasons with the Mavericks, Dirk has been a model player and terrific ambassador for our game," a statement issued by Silver's office said. "This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA's greatest players."
pfd/ (Reuters, dpa)