Dirk Nowitzki announces he will return for 21st NBA season in Dallas

The speculation is over and basketball fans can rejoice, Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki is coming back for a 21st season in the NBA.

The future Hall-of-Famer confirmed his intentions to reporters in Dallas on Tuesday. He had previously said that he planned on playing another season last month, as long as health permitted.

Nowitzki’s season ended four games early to undergo surgery on his left ankle, but he still managed to play 77 games in the 2017-18 season at age 39. He averaged 12 points in 24.7 minutes per game, with both representing his lowest marks since his rookie season. He shot .456 from the floor and .409 from 3-point range, grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game for a Mavs team that is currently 24-57.

See the iconic player through his storied career: 

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Dirk Nowitzki through his career
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Dirk Nowitzki through his career
Basketball: Feature. Portrait of Dirk Nowitzki alone, smiling & holding ball under chin. (Photo by Norbert Schmidt/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
DALLAS - JUNE 29: Dirk Nowitzki #41, head coach Don Nelson and Steve Nash #13 pose for a photo as they are introduced to the Dallas Mavericks during a press conference on June 29, 1998 at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1998 NBAE (Photo by Carolyn Herter/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (L) passes the ball off the baseline against Golden State Warriors forward Jason Caffey during first quarter action at Reunion Arena, November 2. JM/SV
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki tries to catch his breath during the second half of the San Antonio Spurs 105-87 victory over the Mavericks in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals at the Alamodome in San Antonio, May 14, 2001. Nowitzki finished the game with 42 points and 18 rebounds. JM/SV
Germany's forward Dirk Nowitzki reacts after Russia calls a time out during round two of the FIBA World Basketball Championship on September 4, 2002 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nowitzki, who plays for the NBA team Dallas Mavericks, co-led with 17 points as Germany defeated Russia 103-85. REUTERS/Adrees Latif AL
Indiana Pacers guard Anthony Johnson (L) knocks the ball away from Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (R) during first half action at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 9, 2004. REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell JM
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (L) shoots over Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion during Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals in Phoenix, May 18, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Blake MB/SV
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki reacts after scoring during the overtime period against the Orlando Magic in Dallas, Texas, December 16, 2005. The Mavericks defeated Magic 109-103 in overtime with Nowitzki scoring 31 points. REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki talks to the media during the 2006 NBA All-Star news conference in Houston, Texas February 17, 2006. The East and West All-Stars play February 19. REUTERS/Richard Carson
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki of Germany holds his trophy after being named the FIBA Europe Player of the Year for 2005 during the presentation ceremonies before the NBA game between the Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers in Dallas, Texas April 19, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki grabs his shirt as he reacts against the Phoenix Suns in the third quarter during Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals in Phoenix, Arizona, May 30, 2006. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (L) of Germany drives to the basket against Phoenix Suns forward Tim Thomas in Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals series in Phoenix, Arizona, June 3, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Topping (UNITED STATES)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki from Germany stands during the National Anthem during Game 2 of the 2006 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat in Dallas, Texas June 11, 2006. The Mavericks won 99-85. REUTERS/Marc Serota (UNITED STATES)
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki of Germany jumps for a rebound during first half action against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their 2006 NBA Finals in Dallas, Texas, June 11, 2006. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Germany's Dirk Nowitzki shoots free-throws after a team practice session for the world basketball championships in Hiroshima August 22, 2006. Germany is scheduled to play Panama in their Group B competition on August 23. REUTERS/Adrees Latif (JAPAN)
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki of Germany reacts after a foul was called against his team during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, California January 7, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (R) moves in the low post against Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem in the second half of their NBA regular season basketball game in Dallas, Texas February 22, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (L) borrows a fan's sunglasses while watching a celebrity basketball game in Dallas, Texas, April 14, 2007. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (L) receives the NBA Most Valuable Player Trophy from commissioner David Stern in Dallas, Texas May 15, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES)
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki looks to pass while playing the Chicago Bulls during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago December 3, 2007. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki of Germany competes in the NBA All-Star basketball three point contest in New Orleans, Louisiana February 16, 2008. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Dirk Nowitzki of Germany (L) and U.S. assistant coach Jim Boeheim (R) have their photo taken after the men's Group B basketball game at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 18, 2008. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (CHINA)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (R) of Germany and Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett exchange words in the third quarter NBA action in Dallas, Texas February 12, 2009. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)
Dallas Maverick's German basketball player Dirk Nowitzki listens to reporter's questions during a news conference at the headquarter of his sponsor in Frankfurt, June 23, 2009. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY SPORT BASKETBALL HEADSHOT)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (C) high-fives teammates Shawn Marion (0) and Josh Howard after scoring against the Houston Rockets during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Houston December 31, 2009. REUTERS/Richard Carson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (R) runs up court after making a shot as Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom follows during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas February 24, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki celebrates after making a shot and drawing a foul against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of Game 1 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series in Dallas, Texas April 18, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, from Germany, reacts after being eliminated from the Shooting Stars event during the NBA basketball All Star weekend in Los Angeles, February 19, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
German flag bearer for the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore 2010 Felix Bach (R) poses with flag bearer of the Olympic Games in Beijing Dirk Nowitzki near the Olympic Flame in front of the Brandenburg gate during the Youth Olympic Games Day in Berlin, July 24, 2010. The flame of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games stops in Berlin on the journey started in ancient Olympia for the first-ever Youth Olympics that will be held from August 14 to 26. REUTERS/Alex Domanski (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki celebrates after sinking a shot and being fouled in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoff in Los Angeles, California May 4, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki of Germany celebrates against Oklahoma City Thunder during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Final basketball playoff in Dallas, Texas May 19, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki speaks to the media before a team practice at the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 1, 2011. Nowitzki tore tendons in his left middle finger on a defensive play during the Mavericks' 92-84 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Finals on Tuesday in Miami. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki looks up with Mavericks fans standing in the background during Game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball series against the Miami Heat in Dallas, Texas June 7, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki lifts the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy with his teammates after they beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 to win the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki rides on a float during a parade held to celebrate their NBA championship in Dallas, Texas June 16, 2011. Dallas defeated the Miami Heat to win the 2011 NBA title. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki drinks champagne as he carries the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Trophy after defeating the Miami Heat during Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
NBA basketball player Dirk Nowitzki waves to waiting fans as he arrives in front of the Wuerzburg Residenz during a visit to his German home town of Wuerzburg, June 28, 2011. Nowitzki became the first German to win an NBA title when his basketball team Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat last weeki, giving the Mavericks their first championship in their 31 year history. Nowitzki was also named the Most Valuable Player of the Championship series. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dirk Nowitzki of Germany makes a shot during their FIBA EuroBasket 2011 Group E basketball game against Spain in Vilnius September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LITHUANIA - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball forward Dirk Nowitzki, from Germany, throws out the opening pitch before Game 3 of MLB's World Series baseball championship between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, October 22, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
German NBA basketball player Dirk Nowitzki reacts on a large video screen while TV presenters Kathrin Mueller-Hohenstein (L) and Rudi Cerne announce his victory during the "Sportsmen of the year" gala in Baden Baden, December 18, 2011. Nowitzki was elected as "Germany's Sportsman of the year" by German sports journalists but could not attend the gala as the NBA season starts next week and he is in the pre-season preparation camp with his team, the Dallas Mavericks. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
U.S. President Obama receives a team jersey from Dirk Nowitzki (L) while hosting the 2011 NBA champions Dallas Mavericks in the East Room at the White House in Washington, January 9, 2012. At right behind Obama is team owner Mark Cuban. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) reacts after hitting a three point shot during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 16, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Apr 26, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) celebrates with forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) after hitting the game winning shot during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs in game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 18, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) drives the ball past Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) and guard Marcus Smart (36) in the second half at TD Garden. Dallas defeated the Celtics 106-102. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) looks to pass as Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) defends during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki poses for photos with his Twyman?Stokes Teammate of the Year award during the 2017 NBA Awards at Basketball City at Pier 36. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) reacts to a missed basket against the Golden State Warriors during second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Nowitzki is currently in the middle of a two-year, $10 million contract signed last offseason that will carry over into 2018-19, when he’ll become the 28th player to play in the NBA at age 40.

“Didn’t miss a lot of games this year, I felt fine most of the time,” Nowitzki said, per video from the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend. “I always said all year I want to fulfill that two-year contract if possible and I saw nothing that was going to stop it.”

The German big man already owns enough accolades to make Hall of Fame induction a breeze when he’s finally eligible. He’s already the all-time leading foreign-born scorer in the league, as well as a 13-time All-Star and sixth on the all-time scoring list with 31,187 career points. While he’s only 232 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for No. 5 on the list, LeBron James is breathing down his neck at 159 points behind.

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