Nowitzki, Wade and Russell selected to 2019 NBA All-Star Game
Li Xiang

Two future Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers, Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, were selected to the 2019 NBA All-Star Game by the league as "special roster additions" by Commissioner Adam Silver on Friday. Meanwhile, D'Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets was named to replace the injured Victor Oladipo as a reserve player of the All-Star Game from the Eastern Conference.

"Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade embody the best of the NBA: remarkable skill, drive and professionalism as well as a deep devotion to strengthening their communities and growing the game around the world. As a global celebration of basketball, our All-Star Game is an ideal setting to salute these first-class NBA champions and Finals MVPs," said Silver.

Dirk Nowitzki (#41) and Dwyane Wade (#3) in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. /VCG Photo

Dirk Nowitzki (#41) and Dwyane Wade (#3) in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. /VCG Photo

Since they were special additions, Nowitzki and Wade will be put in a new third-round of selection after first-lineup and reserve players as LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo pick members for their squads. For Miami fans between 2011 and 2014, this could be their last chance to see James-Wade connections.

Before the 2018-19 regular season started, Wade already announced that it would be his "last dance." Though Nowitzki has not decided when he will retire yet, considering his age and how long he has played in the NBA, this could be his last season as well. Therefore, it's understandable that the league wanted to show their respect to the two legends by leaving their spots in the All-Star Game.

Wade with his Finals MVP trophy after winning the 2005-06 NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. /VCG Photo

Wade with his Finals MVP trophy after winning the 2005-06 NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. /VCG Photo

Having played 13 NBA All-Star Games already, Nowitzki is enjoying his 21st season in the league, breaking Kobe Bryant's record of playing for the same team (20 seasons). He's played in 1,491 regular season games, which is the fourth most in history, and won 906 of them, the sixth most. His 31,275 career points is No. 7 of all NBA players and No.1 among all none-American players. In the 2006-07 season, Nowitzki became the first European MVP before he finally won the NBA Championship in 2011 as the Finals MVP.

Wade already played 12 All-Star Games in his 16-season-long career. He won the 2010 All-Star MVP and dropped a triple-double in the 2012 event. With 22.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.55 steals per game in his career, Wade became the third player after Michael Jordan and LeBron James in NBA history to get at least 20,000 points, 4,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 steals, 800 blocks and 500 three-pointers. Having won three NBA Championships, Wade is remembered by the world for his extraordinary performances in the 2005-06 Finals.

Dirk Nowitzki wins his Finals MVP trophy of the 2010-11 NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks. /VCG Photo

Dirk Nowitzki wins his Finals MVP trophy of the 2010-11 NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks. /VCG Photo

D'Angelo Russell entered the league in 2015 with the Los Angeles Lakers, who selected him with the second overall pick in the draft. In 2017, he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets where he got the chance to play a bigger and better role. So far this season, Russell has accounted for 19.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 37.4 percent from beyond the arc. More importantly, he helped the Nets win 28 of their 53 games and rank No. 6 in the Eastern Conference. The first All-Star Game seemed to be a proper reward for the 22-year-old.