Mavs Dirk: The Reluctant All-Star - Again

DALLAS - Moments after noting how much the All-Star Break time off will benefit Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle had to switch gears. Dirk gets the honor - and no break. 'This is one of the responsibilities that comes with greatness,' Rick said late Wednesday, 'and he understands that.'



The Dallas Mavericks were, collectively, looking forward to the All-Star Break and no game from Wednesday (when they ground out an 87-82 home win over Utah) all the way to Feb. 19.

But Pelicans star Anthony Davis' injury creates a late vacancy for the West squad in the All-Star Game. And the winner is ... The Reluctant Superstar, Dirk Nowitzki.

“It is always an honor to represent the Mavericks at the All Star Game,” Nowitzki said. “This year it threw a little bit of a wrench into my plans, but I am very excited. Even though it was unexpected I am looking forward to being a part of the festivities in New York.”

Immediately after the game, coach Rick Carlisle said, "This is one time where being excluded from the All-Star Game is a blessing for (Dirk) and the team."

Oops. Put the brakes on that. Excluding his injury-riddled 2012-13 campaign, Nowitzki, 36, hasn't missed an All-Star Game since 2002. In his 17 years in the league, the greatest-shooting big man of all time -- featuring his One-Legged Euro LeanBack, his work ethic and his self-effacing personal style of leadership -- will now have to his credit 13 All-Star appearances.

"No matter how you look at it, it’s a great honor,'' Carlisle said later, gears having shifted with Commissioner Adam Silver's selection of Dirk. "He’s deserving. … He’s compiling one of the all-time great resumes in NBA history."

Smile

The All-Star Game is slated for New York City on Valentines weekend. This obviously changes the plans for the Nowitzki family, as Dirk -- averaging 18.3 points and 5.9 rebounds for the 36-19 Mavs -- will deal with the "wrench'' to become (according to our so-far research) one of just a dozen players in NBA history to have qualified for at least 13 All-Star Games.



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