AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Before he retires, Dirk Nowitzki wouldn't mind singing his rendition of "We Are The Champions' again.
Even if his rendition of a cople of years ago was a bit off-key.
Nowitkzi was the cornerstone player when the Dallas Mavericks captured the 2011 NBA title. He remembers the moment when the Mavs won the title on the Miami Heat's floor, and he remembers all those adorning fans who crowded downtown Dallas for the Mavs' victory parade.
For those, and other personal reasons, Nowitzki, 34, would like to see all that repeated one more time before he hangs up his sneakers for good.
"Once you win it all it's such a great feeling to see the excitement of the city and everything with the franchise,'' Nowitzki told the Star-Telegram after Friday morning's shoot around at The Palace of Auburn Hills. "It was an amazing feeling and I'd love to compete for it for the rest of my career.''
For Nowitzki, his undying need to compete at a high level is what makes this season so unsettling for him. Everywhere the 15-year veteran turns, fans and well-wishers talk about the Mavs (26-33) somehow finding a way to secure the No. 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference as if the Mavs are going to be awarded some sort of banner for reaching the postseason.
Nowitzki wants championship rings. Not pats on the back for being a No. 8th seed.
That's why he said owner Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, the team's president of basketball operations, will have their work cut out for them in their attempt to bring a top-flight player to Dallas tis summer,
"We as a Maverick organization, we don't want to settle for p'laying for the eighth spot and make it to the playoffs,'' Nowitzki said. "That's why it's a big summer for us, and we'll see what Donnie and Mark come up with this summer.''
Nowitzki vividly remembers the offseason after the Mavs won the 2011 title, when the franchise parted ways with Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, DeShawn Stevenson, Corey Brewer and Caron Butler -- keys pieces in that championship season. Many of the players who won the title and remained with the Mavs talked about how they didn't get a fair chance to repeat as champions.
"Just the turnaround was really quick, because usually it takes a couple of years for a championship team to get old slowly and then they just fade away,'' Nowitzki said. "But with ours, some business decisions were made, so we were put in a position where we couldn't repeat, unfortunately, with the same team.
"I think everybody accepted that and we moved forward and made the best out of it, we went for a free agent and didn't get it and we'll see what we do with the cap space this summer around. But we definitely need to make something happen to be up there again in the West.''
-- Dwain Price
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