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Dirk Nowitzki

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President Barack Obama is presented with a Dallas Mavericks team basketball jersey from Dirk Nowitzki as he honored the 2011 NBA basketball champions Dallas Mavericks, Monday, Jan., 9, 2012, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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Dirk Nowitzki was named the MVP of the NBA Finals in June as his Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat, but he and his teammates will have to wait to open defense of their NBA title as labor negotiations grind on. The question is, how many sports fans care if the players ever get back on the court? (Associated Press)

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Jan Vesely, with NBA commissioner David Stern on Thursday, has been compared to Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki and Utah's Andrei Kirilenko. (Associated Press)

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ASSOCIATED PRESS Jan Vesely, shown with NBA commissioner David Stern, has been compared to Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki and Utah's Andrei Kirilenko.

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Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, center, of Germany, raises his MVP trophy followed by teammates Jason Terry, second from left, and Tyson Chandler, left, as they exit the charter with owner Mark Cuban carrying the NBA Championship basketball trophy after the team's arrival at Love Field in Dallas, Monday, June 13, 2011. The Mavericks beat the Heat to win the NBA championship. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

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Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki shoots over Miami Heat's Joel Anthony during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA finals. Dallas won 112-103 and is one game from an NBA Championship. Nowitzki had had 29 points, six rebounds and three assists in the game. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki had 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in the NBA finals to lead the Mavs to a 86-83 win in Game 4. The series is now tied 2-2. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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ASSOCIATED PRESS Dirk Nowitzki (41) is averaging 28.3 points for Dallas through Game 3 of the finals, but offense has been hard to come by for Jason Terry (31) and the rest of the Mavericks.

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Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki pumps his fist at the end of the second half of Game 2 of the NBA finals against the Miami Heat. The Mavericks defeated the Heat 95-93 on Nowitzki's game-winning layup. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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Dallas Mavericks' Jason Terry (31) and Dirk Nowitzki shake hands during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game against the Miami Heat, Thursday, June 2, 2011, in Miami. Nowitzki made the winning layup to beat the Heat 95-93 and cap a stunning comeback. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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NBA Playoffs: Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points and had nine rebounds in the victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 that sends Dallas to the NBA finals. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

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NBA Playoffs: Dallas Mavericks' forward Dirk Nowitzki, guarded by Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, scored 40 points in the Mavericks' 112-105 overtime victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Monday night. Durant scored 29 for the Thunder but missed his last six shots. (Associated Press)

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ASSOCIATED PRESS Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki made an NBA playoff-record 24 consecutive free throws in a 121-112 win over Oklahoma City in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday. His 48 points were the most this postseason. Durant scored 40 points in the opener, but was overshadowed by Nowitzki and was held back by Westbrook's woes.