At 35 years old, Dirk Nowitzki knows the clock is ticking on his basketball career.
And on the number of All-Star appearances he has left in the tank.
“Maybe this might be my last hurrah,” said Nowitzki, who is this year’s oldest All-Star. “Who knows?
“But I’m trying to have fun here this weekend.”
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Nowitzki played in his 12th All-Star game Sunday night at the Smoothie King Arena. As the end of his career draws closer, the Dallas Mavericks’ forward reflected on his journey through his All-Star appearances.
“I’ll always remember my first one,” Nowitzki said. “My first All-Star game was in Philly [in 2002], and back then I was the young guy looking up to Shaq [O’Neal], Kobe [Bryant], KG [Kevin Garnett] and [Tim] Duncan, and getting to know them in the West locker room was just an amazing feeling for me.
“And now all of a sudden I’m the oldest guy. It’s been a crazy ride, it’s been a fun ride, this is my 16th season now and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
With all the snow, ice and cold weather in New York, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James wonders how the NBA will deal with the inclement conditions when the All-Star Game is held in New York next year.
“I think that’s going to be amazing,” James said of the 2015 game at Madison Square Garden. “The only problem is what if New York City next year is like New York City today.
“I don’t know what the NBA would do with that. Would they cancel it? That’s something to ponder.”
Because Madison Square Garden is considered the basketball mecca, James acknowledged that it will be an All-Star game for the ages.
“If I’m fortunate enough to make it, obviously being in the Garden for the All-Star Game, wow!” James said. “That’s going to be big-time.
“Hopefully, if I’m fortunate enough to play some good enough basketball [next season] and be injury-free, that would probably be my favorite.”
Kobe the spectator
Kobe Bryant was voted in as a starter for the Western Conference this year, but was unable to play Sunday because of an Achilles’ tendon injury.
Bryant, however, expects to be back in the midseason classic as soon as next season.
“When you play in an All-Star Game that means you’re one of the best players in the world,” said Bryant, who is a 16-time All-Star. “So it’s obviously a big goal of mine to be there.
“But it’s tough coming here, though, because normally when you come the competitive juices are already flowing. Now it’s kind of looking at it from a different perspective, but you also get a chance to soak it all in a little bit more and kind of sit back and watch and observe, which has its own fun elements to it.”