Dirk Passes Wilt In Free Throws Made


HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Dirk Nowitzki moved past Wilt Chamberlain Saturday night and into 15th place on the NBA’s all-time free throws made list.

In his 1,076th career game, Dirk collected eight more free throws to total 6,059 on 6,910 attempts. That’s 87.7 percent, currently good for a tie for 13th all-time with Jeff Hornacek. Only four active players have better career free-throw percentages — No. 1 Steve Nash (90.4), No. 5 Chauncey Billups (89.4), No. 6 Ray Allen (89.3) and No. 12 Kevin Durant (88.2).

But back to Wilt’s free throws and a little comparison to Dirk because these numbers are really mind-blowing:

* In 1,045 games — 31 fewer than Dirk has played to this point — Wilt made two fewer free throws (6,057) on 4,952 more attempts.

* Dirk has averaged 6.4 free throws a game; Wilt averaged 11.4.

* Dirk, 18th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,442 career points), has missed 851 free-throw attempts.

* Wilt, fourth on the all-time scoring list (31,419), missed 5,805 free- throw attempts.

Dirk’s percentage has dipped a bit this season. After going 8-for-11 from the free-throw line in Saturday’s blowout win over the Golden State Warriors, Dirk is shooting just 78.5 percent from the free- throw line, his low-water mark by far since finishing his rookie season at 77.3 percent.

The slippage is rather stunning considering Dirk finished six of the last seven seasons at 89.0 percent or better (the other season was 87.9 percent).

The only conclusion is that the Oct. 19 athroscopic surgery on his right knee that sidelined him for the first 27 games of the season has taken a toll on a player who has always featured a pronounced knee bend in his shooting form (his 40.7 field-goal percentage is also the lowest since his rookie season).

That aside, Dirk remains one of the game’s all-time great free-throw shooters and he needs to average just under 4.0 made free throws in the final 32 games of the regular season to pass Bob Pettit (6,182) and move into 14th place.

In any other season, that would seem automatic, but this season Dirk is averaging just 2.9 made free throws a game. Prior to this season, he averaged 5.7 made free throws a game. 

Whether it happens this season or next, it will happen. In fact, by the second half of next season Dirk should take his place in the top 10 all-time for most free throws made.

He’s just 317 away from overtaking No. 10 Allen Iverson (6,375), who despite his preference, doesn’t appear headed to an NBA free throw line ever again.


  1. hmmm says:

    wilt was better than dirk in every aspect of the game except for free throws and shooting and @bigcat dirk is 7’0″ and wilt was 7’2″ please do research before posting and lets look at wilts accomplishments in the game. only one with 100 points only person to really come close to that is kobe and jordan. @macky why wouldyou say the only player in the league that can be top 5 all time is lebron then YOU know nothing about basketball. lebron may be dominating the league now but has 1 ring to show for it. he is also the youngest to score 20k….. coming out of high school beating jordan by about half a year who went to college for 3 whole years before going into the NBA and jordan/kobe have a more complete game than lebron…. enough said

  2. Boere says:

    I will always be grateful to the Mave for beating the Heat in the finals.

  3. Macky says:

    * Dirk, 18th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,442 career points), has missed 851 free-throw attempts.

    * Wilt, fourth on the all-time scoring list (31,419), missed 5,805 free- throw attempts.

    That says it all right there.

    • ism says:

      sorry, macky, but that doesn’t say a lot except for dirk being a hell of a better free throw shooter than wilt. which doesn’t sound like your original point: wilt being greater than dirk.
      which i would agree with, as a dirk fan, but partly because wilt was a little short on real competition.

  4. Macky says:

    Please stop the comparisons. Wilt’s in the top 3 of greatest players of all time. Dirk is not even in his league. Guys like Michael, Kareem, Wilt, Magic and Larry are legends and there’s only one guy playing in the NBA right now who has a legitimate shot of making into the top 5 all time which cements you as a legend and that’s Lebron James. Of course we have all time greats currently active like Duncan, Kobe, Dirk, Garnett, Wade and Nash but Wilt is a LEGEND. He’s a rule changer. He was too good they had to adjust rules because of him. If you’d take Dirk over Wilt, you know nothing about basketball and you should go watch Wilt games on Youtube.

    • big cat says:

      lol you sound more like mr. macky on south park , bonehead , when wilt played he was a 7 foot center playing against like 6 2 centers everynight of course his stats looked ridiculous , there were no true bigs back than

  5. ism says:

    that’s an impossible comparison. you could substitute the 2011 chandler with wilt and you would probably have had a 4-game sweep in the finals. but wilt is a real center, whereas dirk is a modern pf – both of them dominant players. in the modern nba – dirk might be the way to go for winning games, but then again, a really dominant old-school center might wreak some havoc, too, we just don’t see that type of player nowadays. at least not offensively.

  6. xx says:

    @ lakers keep your mouth shot…please just shut it

  7. big cat says:

    i’d take an in – prime dirk over an in – prime wilt any day of the week , cant stop that fade away jumper , I believe dirk is an inch taller too with wilt being 7 ‘ 0 and dirk being about 7 ‘ 1 .

  8. LAKERS says:

    Whats the difference between dirk and andrea bargnani?…..ONE RING…..both are 7 footers who cant rebound

    • lol says:

      get your facts straight he can rebound idiot

    • dattebayo says:

      Dirk has a career average of 22.7 points and 8.2 rebounds in the regular season and 25.9 points and 10.3 rebounds in the playoffs. Bargnani averages 5 rebounds for his career…

    • MrNBA says:

      What’s the difference between Dirk and Kobe? Kobe had Shaq, Phil Jackson, a pair of 7 footers in Gasol and Bynum, and a Commissioner who wants them to win the championship every year.

  9. Obama says:

    Dirk is not playing as hard this year because he knows they can’t do any damage with the roster they have so he isn’t working to get his game back to where it was in 2011. No matter how long you’ve been in the NBA you have to constantly work to maintain your level of play and Dirk just isn’t giving that effort this season.

  10. Armin Halvadzic says:

    Dirk. The best EU player to ever steop on NBA court.

  11. Sam says:

    ISM me too! What a magic year 2011 was…i haven’t seen any player dominate during the playoff the way Dirk did in 2011…with such kind of grace shot after shot

  12. dredd5150 says:

    Keep your team together! It’s getting there! I know it took a long while… BUT IT’S GETTING THERE!!!!

  13. ism says:

    combined with his almost unstoppable flamingo shot, fouls and therefore free throws will always come in numbers and be one of dirk’s main weapons. however, I am waiting for some of that 2011-spirit to show up in his game, again. toughness and incredible shots, that is.