A 13-year streak of excellence will officially end for the Mavericks on Thursday night when the NBA’s All-Star reserves are announced on TNT.
The reality we’ve all seen coming for weeks -- that no Mavs will be selected to the West squad by the conference coaches after Dirk Nowitzki missed the season’s first 27 games thanks to knee surgery -- means that Dallas will be without an All-Star for the first time this century.
Michael Finley made his All-Star breakthrough for the Mavericks in 2000 and was named to the West squad again as a reserve in 2001. Nowitzki and Steve Nash both made their All-Star debuts in 2002, which launched Dirk on an run of 11 consecutive All-Star appearances.
As Gregory Found of ESPN Stats & Info informs, only two teams in the league have a longer run of sending someone to the All-Star Game than the Mavs’ 13 years in a row.
The Los Angeles Lakers have had a representative on the West for 16 straight All-Star Games dating to 1997, with fan-elected starters Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard extending that streak this season. The San Antonio Spurs, meanwhile, have seen at least one of their players in West colors -- usually Tim Duncan -- for the past 14 All-Star Games and should see that streak extended later Thursday when either Duncan or Tony Parker is unveiled as a West reserve.
Don’t forget that there was no All-Star Game in the lockout-shortened 1999 season, which was also Nowitzki’s rookie year.