Too many "firsts" will make Dirk Nowitzki's first MVP award seem second fiddle, at least in the short term.
The 7-foot forward is set to become the first European player to win the NBA's MVP -- and the first player in Mavericks history to claim the honor. The award presentation is expected to be made Tuesday.
But there are other firsts that makes accepting the award bittersweet: When the Mavericks fell to Golden State in the first round of the playoffs this season, they became the first No. 1 seed ousted by a No. 8 in a best-of-seven format. Nowitzki is the first MVP since Houston's Moses Malone in 1982 not to win a playoff series.
Donnie Nelson, the Mavs' general manager, tried to put it in perspective -- from Nowitzki's arrival in a foreign land as the 20-year-old future face of a franchise just beginning to reverse its wayward course -- and shift away from the micro-analysis of the six-game playoff bust.
"You look at the way he came into the league, nobody knew what Nowitzki was. Half the population thought he was going to report to the Dallas Stars," Nelson said. "Go through his first two years, he went through the bumps and bruises, really extremely difficult and trying years.
"And then to work his way out of that, become an All-Star, it was a dream. And then to be voted the MVP, I think it's more than anyone could ever wish for."