Photo: AP/LM Otero

Former NBA star Dirk Nowitzki is of a handful of the NBA players who have stayed loyal to the same team their entire career and on top of that – won a championship. The German forward spent 21 seasons in the league, all of them with the Dallas Mavericks.

It took him 13 seasons before he won his first and only NBA championship in 2011 as the Mavs defeated the Heat’s big three in the Finals. However, his loyalty paid off as he not only won his own firs title but also the first one for Dallas.

In a recent interview Nowitzki admitted that at that point of his career he was prepared to accept that he was not going to get a ring in his career. He remembered Charles Barkley who used to dominated the league as well but retired without winning a title.

Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:

“For me, I was prepared to live with the fact that I wasn’t going to win a title. One of my big idols is Charles Barkley. I loved him — that’s why actually in Europe I had No. 14 because he wore No. 14 in the Olympics in Barcelona. And I never have looked at him lesser because he didn’t win a championship. He just happened to run into Michael Jordan all the time. Of course that’s always in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, “Man, what if? What if I would have done that?” But I’m just glad it worked out in Dallas. I really am. And I didn’t have to think about ever leaving this place.”