THE COLONY – When Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tossed in one of his infamous sky hooks to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, teammate Magic Johnson illegally came off the bench and was awarded the assist on that record-breaking basket.
The big controversy was that Johnson probably shouldn’t have been in position to get that memorable assist, because he shouldn’t have been allowed in the game at the time. However, while on the bench and noticing that Abdul-Jabbar was only one point away from passing Wilt Chamberlain to becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer, Johnson hopped off the bench and walked in front of Lakers coach Pat Riley and onto the court without going to the official’s scorer’s table and officially getting checked into the Lakers’ record-shattering game -- it was played in Las Vegas – against the Utah Jazz.
That was on Apr. 5, 1984 and gave Abdul-Jabbar career point No. 31,420 – one more point than the 31,419 points Chamberlain scored in his illustrious career.
Fast forward to this week, and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is a mere 38 points away from becoming the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 30,000 points. And one Mavs player is already thinking about being in position to be a special part of history.
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"I just want to be the one who passes it to him on the 30,000th point, and hopefully I’ll get that chance,’’ guard Devin Harris said following a Saturday afternoon autograph session at Nebraska Furniture Mart. "I think I have the (assist on the) 20,000th (point) or the 15,000th (point), so hopefully I can get the one to 30,000.
"But it’s just really a great thing to see and a great place in history, especially for Dallas.’’
Nowitzki was entering his seventh season by the time Harris joined the Mavs as a rookie in 2004 in a draft day trade with the Washington Wizards. Now 34, Harris has watched Nowitzki blossom into one of the most iconic sports figures in Dallas history, and into a player who is just as adamant about being a success with his endeavors in the Fort Worth/Dallas community as he is on the basketball court.
"He’s the epitome of what Dallas Mavericks basketball is,’’ Harris said. "Hard work, dedication.
"Even though he’s 38, he’s still working as hard as he can."
Harris just hopes by the time Nowitzki’s hard work gets him one, two or three points away from 30,000, he’ll be already in the game waiting to be an integral part of history.
"We (Nowitzki and Harris) play a lot together, so hopefully I’m the one that gives him that ball,’’ Harris said, referring to Nowitzki’s 30,000th point. "The countdown is up there (in American Airlines Center).
"Every time he scores, the countdown is up there. So you may see me check myself into the game, too."