NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, the first European player to win the award.
The MVP award capped a roller-coaster campaign for Nowitzki, a versatile seven-foot German who played brilliantly during the season but poorly during the Mavericks’ colossal playoff collapse.
A six-times All-Star during his nine-year NBA career, Nowitzki totaled 1,138 points, including 83 first-place votes, from a panel of 129 journalists.
Twice-MVP Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, Nowitzki’s good friend and former team mate, finished second in the voting with 1,013 points (44 first-place votes).
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was third with 521 points, followed by San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (286 points) and Cleveland’s LeBron James (183 points).
Nowitzki led Dallas to a 67-15 record, tying for the sixth-best winning percentage in NBA history. He averaged 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and a career-best 3.4 assists.
He joins Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets, Duncan and Nash on the list of international players who have captured the MVP award. The 28-year-old Nowitzki finished third in voting the last two seasons.
Despite being named to the All-NBA First Team for the third consecutive year, Nowitzki was unable to lead top-seeded Dallas past the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
The Golden State Warriors, taking advantage of an ineffective Nowitzki, defeated the Mavericks four games to two in the best of seven series.