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Mavs Icon Dirk Nowitzki Now Shares Statue with Mike Modano at American Airlines Center

Dirk Nowitzki and Mike Modano's legacies celebrated with statues at the American Airlines Center, underscoring their impact on Dallas sports history.

DALLAS — The American Airlines Center remains the shared home of the Dallas Mavericks and Stars. While that remains the case, it serves as a monument to the transformative power of two of the city's most celebrated athletes: Dirk Nowitzki and Mike Modano. As Dallas unveils a statue of Modano alongside Nowitzki's this Saturday, Victory Park will serve as a lasting memorial for their sports legacies. 

Modano's journey to Dallas began with the relocation of the Minnesota North Stars in 1993, culminating in a Stanley Cup victory in 1999 at the Reunion Arena. Nowitzki's arrival followed in 1998 with the Mavs, leading to an NBA title in 2011 at the AAC. The duo formed a bond of mutual respect and a shared commitment to excellence in Dallas.

“[Nowitzki] is just such a great, solid friend,” Modano told the Stars' official website. “Getting introduced to him by Steve Nash, we just kind of hit it off. We both had a winning attitude, and we both liked to have fun, so that’s how we looked at it. And then to get the recognition or respect around the league for both of our teams and for the city too, that was special.”

Mike Modano, Dallas Stars, Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Steve Nash, a Canadian and avid hockey enthusiast, facilitated the connection, bridging the gap between Modano and Nowitzki. This trio of sports stars shared more than just accolades; they shared experiences that bonded them closely.

“We came in about the same time they won the Stanley Cup, and everybody wanted to watch them,” Nowitzki said. “Steve was from Canada, so any time his friends came down, they always wanted to watch the Stars.”

Modano and Nowitzki navigated similar paths to glory, each pioneering a resurgence within their respective franchises through perseverance and dedication. 

“I think our paths were pretty similar for our sports,” Modano said. “We each fought our way and did the best we could, and it was fun to help rebuild organizations and earn whatever we got. It was similar paths and I think that we both understood each other. We were both drafted by our team, we both went through growing pains with different coaches, different towns, and different teammates.”

Both Modano and Nowitzki endured no shortage of ups and downs throughout their journeys to bringing their respective teams the first-ever championship, providing more than enough to bond over.

“Having to wait and really work to win it all was hard, but it made it even better in the end,” Modano said. “We both got close before we finally did it.”

More than just bringing championships to Dallas, Nowitzki and Modano played vital roles in transforming a once desolate area into the bustling hub surrounding the AAC today. 

“I’m blown away when I’m there,” Modano said. “It is a great story about how sports can change things.”

Nowitzki, who still lives in the Dallas community, has witnessed the area's growth firsthand, symbolizing the broader expansion of the city itself throughout the years.

“I would go away in the summer, and it seemed like every time I came back, there was a new building there,” Nowitzki said. “It’s really a reflection of the entire city, because it’s grown so much.”