DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki was named to his 12th All-Star game today.
In an announcement a short time ago on TNT, the Dallas Mavericks forward was chosen as one of seven Western Conference reserves who will participate in this year's midseason classic, which will be held Feb. 16 in New Orleans.
Nowitzki was chosen to the All-Star squad for 11 straight years from 2002-'12. But he had right knee surgery on Oct. 19, 2012 and missed 29 games and was not selected to play in last year's All-Star game.
A vigorous workout ensued to get Nowitzki back to All-Star status, and he believed a spot on this year's team would validate all the hard work he put in. Then after Thursday's practice, Nowitzki vowed he would be OK if he was chosen, or not chosen, to participate in the All-Star game.
"Either way it's going to be great,'' Nowitzki said after Thursday's practice at American Airlines Center. "If I don’t go I'm going to enjoy some time away from hoops.
"And if I go, then I'll represent this franchise the right way like I always have, and enjoy my time there and that's really it. I'm fine either way.''
Nowitzki is averaging 21.6 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 48.3 percent from the field in just 32.4 minutes oer game. And he sounded like he was ithcing to get back to playing alongside the NBA's elite.
"I went to the beach, worked on my tan last year, so that was good,'' Nowitzki said earlier Thursday. "But it was my first year last year away from it.
"Even my first couple of years when I wasn't an All-Star I went there, I represented the Mavs in the 3-point contest, I played in the rookie transition game my first year. It was kind of like a routine, so last year was kind of weird not to go because I went my whole career.''
Now, Nowitzki should feel right at home because he's back in his familiar spot -- at the All-Star game.
-- Dwain Price
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