But because the 37-year-old Dallas Mavericks big man entered the night averaging 13.6 points per game, fans and pundits alike weren't holding their breath.
If they had been, though, they wouldn't have had to wait too long. He was unconscious in the first quarter, matching his career high with 18 points in the initial frame and starting the game 5-of-5 from the field.
— NBA (@NBA) March 8, 2017
He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to reach 30,000 points in the NBA (Julius Erving achieved the mark as well if you include ABA stats) on a modified version of his patented fadeaway—leaving the ground off two feet instead of one with his knee up.
THE SHOT HEARD AROUND THE AAC! CONGRATS ON 30K DIRK!! pic.twitter.com/r8QoozVmxZ
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 8, 2017
Dirk broke out the same move for at least two other milestones: his 10,000th field goal and his 20,000th point, which looked eerily similar to this one.
Left: Dirk scoring 20k
Right: Dirk scoring 30k
— Josh Williams (@JoshWilliams89) March 8, 2017
A Dirk three sparked a Lakers timeout, and he was mobbed by teammates and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
After reaching 30k, Dirk nails 3 at other end and is mobbed by teammates and Mark Cuban pic.twitter.com/uDMM6zvvNE
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) March 8, 2017
"It's been sort of surreal—30,000 is amazing, a lot of points," Dirk said after notching 25 points and 11 rebounds in a 122-111 win. "Obviously, every milestone makes you reflect a little bit, reflect on people who helped you, been with you all this way, from all the coaches and Cuban and all the teammates I had, the fans that went with me through thick and thin.
"It's been an amazing ride, and hopefully a couple of more baskets are coming and then it's time to ride off into the sunset."