For the first time in his NBA career, an All-Star Weekend is taking place without Dirk Nowitzki.

At first, he was a 3-point flinger in the Saturday contest in 2000 at Oakland and 2001 in Philadelphia.

Since then, he’s been an All-Star Game participant for 11 seasons. That run ends Sunday, when the 2013 game in Houston takes place. If not for the knee injury that cost him 27 games, who knows? The streak might still be going.

But even with the end, it’s a good time to put Nowitzki’s astounding career in perspective. He’s already among the best players ever in a ton of categories. And if he has two or three more years before retirement — maybe more — he’s going to do nothing but climb higher on all the lists.

And, even if Nowitzki didn’t score another point, he’d be remembered as one of the sport’s best-ever players.