How Good Is Dirk?

The NBA season has just ended with the Dallas Mavericks winning their first championship by defeating the Miami Heat.  Dirk Nowitzki, in his 13th year in the league finally earned his first ring, which has led many to question where he ranks among the all-time greats in NBA history.  Does winning a ring vault him to a higher spot?  Did his clutch play down the stretch in close playoff games elevate him past some of the game’s legends?  He certainly is a player we’ve never seen the likes of before on a basketball court, when taking into account his size and skill set.  Where does he rank on your list of all-time greats?  How about on your list of all-time great power forwards?

Here are my top 7  power forwards:

1. Tim Duncan

2. Karl Malone

3. Bob Pettit

4. Charles Barkley

5. Kevin Garnett

6. Dirk Nowitzki

7. Elvin Hayes

Need some help making your list?  Check out the Official NBA Encyclopedia with a foreward by Michael Jordan, an introduction by David Stern, and edited by Jan Hubbard, which we have in our collection.  If you’re a sports stat junkie, it doesn’t get any better!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Sports Trivia, Friday Night July 22, from 6:00-8:30. Form a team of up to eight people to compete against other area sports enthusiasts. Ten rounds of ten questions from all over the sports world, past and present, with prizes awarded for the top three teams.  Registration is required and can be done in person at the Red Carpet Desk, by phone at 580-4545, or by email at  We look forward to seeing you there!

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I'm the Red Carpet Librarian and work to bring lifelong support services to the Topeka and Shawnee County area through outreach and programming. I also am a sports enthusiast, work closely with the library's sports collection, and provide programming to engage the community's sports fans.

  • Bill Ludwig

    Good list. I would likely put Kevin Garnett at 2, Karl Malone at 3, Bob Petit at 4, Charles Barkely at 5 and then Dirk Nowitzki at 6.

  • Nate

    Thanks for commenting, Bill! I struggled placing Garnett. The only reason I have him as low as I do is because he wasn’t dominant for quite as long as some of the other guys. But when he was in his prime, he could do it all, and was virtually unstoppable.