After playing his 19th season with the Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki has informed the team he will return for his 20th NBA season, according to Mavs.com. He will exercise his player option to opt into the final season of his two-year, $50 million contract.
Nowitzki joins just Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Kevin Willis, and Robert Parrish as the only players in NBA history to play 20 seasons. He and Bryant are the only players to spend two decades with one team.
There is also a chance he returns for his 21st season, a feat only Parrish and Willis have accomplished.
Nowitzki averaged just 14.2 points last season, the second-fewest of his 19 seasons in the league, as the elder statesman of a Dallas team whose 33-49 record was its worst of the century.
The German forward did, however, crack the 30K mark this year. His 30,260 points ranks him sixth all time behind only Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kobe, Karl Malone, and Abdul-Jabaar. Nowitzki could move ahead of Chamberlain if he averaged 14.1 points across 82 games, 16.5 points across 70 games, or 21 points across 55 games.
Nowitzki enjoyed the highlights of his illustrious career between 2001 and 2012 when he dominated the NBA as the most skilled stretch-four the league had seen. In his best statistical season, he averaged 26 points (on 39.9 percent three-point shooting) and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Nowitzki is one of only seven players in NBA history to join the 50-40-90 club (50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, 90 percent from the line). The other six are Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry.