What, you were surprised when Dirk Nowitzki soared almost a full foot off the Madison Square Garden hardwood to throw down a lob pass from Golden State’s Stephen Curry during Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game?
"Hey, that's what I do," Nowitzki cracked to Marc Stein in an ESPN Radio interview after the West’s 163-158 win.
The fact of the matter is the face of the Dallas Mavericks’ franchise matched his dunk total all season when he sprinted down the left side of the floor in transition, caught the scoop lob from Curry and squeaked it over the rim. And it's not like he was much of a lob finisher back in the day, either.
Dirk Nowitzki had an alley-oop dunk tonight. He has 9 of those in regular-season play ... his last was in January 2004!
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 16, 2015
Nowitzki milked the moment with a tribute to former teammate Vince Carter --– arguably the best dunker of their generation -- mimicking Vinsanity’s memorable dunk contest celebratory pose by pointing to the Madison Square Garden rafters with his right hand fully outstretched and his left about eye high.
Even famously stoic Tim Duncan couldn’t help but crack up along with the rest of the West squad.
“The guys are killing me,” Nowitzki said. “They said the last alley-oop I had was in the Hoop Summit in '98. It was great. Steph lobbed it up for me. He kept it nice and low, below the rim for me to get it."
Nowitzki, the last All-Star selection this season as an injury replacement for New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, finished the game with five points on 2-of-5 shooting, five rebounds and two steals in 12 minutes. The West was outscored by 19 points during his time on the floor, further proof that his game isn’t quite suited for the All-Star style, especially at the ripe old age of 36.
But never mind the boring numbers. What might be the last lob finish of Nowitzki’s low-flying Hall of Fame career made the trip to New York well worth it.