DALLAS – In an 11th hour event, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was named late Wednesday night to replace New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis on this year’s Western Conference All-Star team.
Davis bowed out because of a shoulder injury.
At age 36, Nowitzki will be the second oldest player in the All-Star game behind San Antonio’s Tim Duncan. He also was the oldest player in last season’s All-Star game.
"Well, he'll make the best of it,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "No matter how you look at it, it's a great honor and he is deserving.
"How many guys have played more than that? It's a short list and he's compiling one of the all-time great resumes in NBA history and this is part of it, and so we're proud of him.’’
A first-round draft pick out of Germany in 1998, Nowitzki scored 15 points and grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds Wednesday night to help the Mavs to an 87-82 triumph over the Utah Jazz at American Airlines Center. It was his fifth double-double of the season.
After the game is when word came down that he would replace Davis in the All-Star game, which is Sunday at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Nowitzki, who is the 12th player in NBA history with 13 or more All-Star appearances, was hoping to rest and spend some time with his family during the week-long break. But now he’ll fly to New York for the All-Star festivities and won’t return to Dallas until Monday.
"It's a little disappointing that he can't just kind of disappear and enjoy some real off time,’’ Carlisle said. "But this is one of the responsibilities that comes with greatness, and he understands that.’’