MINNEAPOLIS -- The wait is over.
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has been named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the 11th consecutive season, according to the NBA. Nowitzki was one of seven reserves named to the team.
The other six West reserves are forwards LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland and Kevin Love of Minnesota, center Marc Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, and guards Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns.
Nowitzki's appearance keeps alive the streak of every defending NBA champion in league history having a player in the next season's All-Star game.
Nowitzki is averaging 17.6 points and 6.2 rebounds this season while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 21.1 percent from three-point range. The 7-footer was really in a rut until he scored 79 points over the past three games, which obviously gave him the boost needed to collect another All-Star appearance.
However, Nowitzki never thought he was deserving of an All-Star appearance this season. His stats are his lowest since his rookie season - the 1998-'99 campaign - and he felt other players were more deserving.
"Really, the setup is different with the lockout year," Nowitzki said. "You really only have like 22 games, and if you judge it on those 22 games I don't think I should be in.
"I think there are a lot of other power forwards that played really good over that stretch. To me if you put all the things together of guys that's in the first third of this shorten season, then I don't think I should be in."
But Nowitzki is in. And now the whole Mavs Nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760