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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowtizki surpassed Hakeem Olajuwon for 9th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list Tuesday to become the highest scoring player born outside of the United States.
Dirk hit a jumpshot from just inside the 3-point line in the fourth quarter to get to 26,947 career points. He finished the night with 23 points, furthering his total to 26,953.
Dirk passed the Nigerian-born Olajuwon (26,946) — a two-time NBA champion, 12-time NBA All Star and the league’s all-time leader in blocks. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
“It was great,” said Nowitzki after the game. “Hakeem to me is one of the greatest. I grew up watching him in the 90’s — his footwork, his touch was next to no other. Really humbled to keep climbing the ladder. Blessed to stay healthy and still play at a semi-high level.”
Dirk’s longtime personal coach Holger Geschwindner, who has helped transform Nowitzki into a 12-time All Star, was on hand to witness the feat.
“It’s great for him to be here and see it,” said Nowitzki. “He meant so much to me in my career and he still does. I’m 36 years old and we still work on my game like I’m 21 years old. It’s fair to say that without him I wouldn’t be sitting at number 9 right now.”
Nowitzki was asked if he has aspirations to copy Olajuwon’s patented “Dream Shake”. He conceded that he doesn’t quite have the athleticism to replicate the move.
“I came up with a shot where I just have to basically lean back, don’t be athletic at all and just hoist it up,” said Nowitzki.
“I came up with my own ‘Dream Shake’ I guess — the white version.”
If Nowitzki remains healthy, he will likely jump all the way to No. 7 on the all-time scoring list by season’s end.
Kobe Bryant, currently the fourth leading score of all-time, is the only active player with more points.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,387
2. Karl Malone 36,928
3. Michael Jordan 32,292
4. KOBE BRYANT 31,887
5. Wilt Chamberlain 31,419
6. Shaquille O’Neal 28,596
7. Moses Malone 27,409
8. Elvin Hayes 27,313
9. DIRK NOWITZKI 26,953
10. Hakeem Olajuwon 26,946
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