Dirk Nowitzki was on the Mavericks’ bus to the Orlando airport when his phone vibrated and he saw the text from Larry Legend.
It was a congratulatory message from Larry Bird, the man Nowitzki passed on Tuesday night for 25th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
“That’s pretty cool,” Nowitzki said.
Pretty cool, indeed. Bird has been a fan of Nowitzki’s throughout his career and Nowitzki said he feels privileged and humbled by passing Bird.
I love, love, love Dirk so don’t get me wrong here, but more than anything, this just makes me sad since it reminds me how injury-shortened the end of Bird’s career was. He was the guy smacking his dome on the parquet while diving headfirst after loose balls and stubbornly refusing to take time off even as back started to fail, so it wasn’t a Yao Ming situation of bad-luck genetics. Still, had his body held out a little longer, Dirk’s name wouldn’t be ahead of his on the leaderboard. Not yet anyway.
Mostly, however, congrats to Mr. Nowitzki.
And don’t worry, Paul Pierce. You should be getting a similar text around this time next year.