Read and React: Dirk passes Wilt, Blake Bortles finds a new home

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Happy Tuesday, dear readers. It was sort of a slow one last night, so we’re leading with Dirk Nowitzki passing Wilt’s big number.

No, not that number. What is wrong with you?

Dirk reclaims sixth on the all-time scoring list

If you claim you’ve heard a story before about Dirk Nowitzki becoming the NBA’s sixth all-time leading scorer, you wouldn’t be wrong. Dirk took over the sixth spot on the list way back on Dec. 23, 2015, passing Shaquille O’Neal in the process.

But LeBron James has stormed up the ladder, passing Dirk last October, Wilt Chamberlain in November and Michael Jordan just a few weeks ago. That put Dirk in a spot where he had to run down Wilt’s total of 31,419 points, no easy process given the gimpy ankle that has slowed him down all year and left everyone to assume this is his final season (though nothing has been made official).

The shot was vintage Dirk

Nowitzki passed Wilt with a shot you’ve seen him make countless times before: A fadeaway 20-foot jumper from the top of the key. And it was actually kind of poetic, given that Nowitzki took the Chamberlain-inspired definition of a big man out from the blocks and turned it into something that was comfortable launching shots over smaller defenders from at or beyond the arc.

While Nowitzki probably doesn’t have enough in the tank to make a run at Jordan (who’s almost 1,000 points ahead), Tuesday night marked another great chapter in what is probably Nowitzki’s farewell tour. There have already been a couple of special moments for both Dirk and Dwyane Wade, particularly in the All-Star Game.

But this scene — played out in front of an adoring Dallas crowd — will be right at the top of that final highlight video.

NFL: The Rams signed Blake Bortles to be their backup QB

For all his struggles, Blake Bortles has always “looked the part.” Well, now he can look the part while standing on the sideline with a ballcap and a clipboard. This one-year deal with the Rams has the potential to vault Bortles into a valuable second career being a backup quarterback. (And should Jared Goff struggle, Bortles should be infinitely more popular than he ever was in Jacksonville.)

NFL: ESPN pursuing Peyton Manning for ‘MNF’ (again)

One year after failing to get him into the booth, ESPN has another chance to pursue Peyton Manning — and it’s taking it, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Adding Peyton would presumably make the game must-see television again, something Peyton’s reps must surely understand when it comes to negotiations.

MLB: Clayton Kershaw will miss first opening day since 2011

The Dodgers ace is back to throwing bullpen sessions after an arm injury, but he still hasn’t faced any live batters. So his streak of starting eight consecutive openers for the Dodgers is over. With King Felix also not starting for the Mariners, the longest opening day starting streak now belongs to Atlanta’s Julio Teheran. He’s scheduled to make his sixth straight opening day start on March 28.

PETE THAMEL: 10 NBA prospects who will be playing in March Madness

Getty Images)
Getty Images)

JEFF EISENBERG: Why it’s OK to trust Virginia this time around

EXPERT PANEL: Five double-digit seeds that could pull off upsets

ESPN leaked the women’s bracket it was supposed to reveal
John Calipari’s daughters roasted him on Twitter for the bad decorating we featured in Monday’s newsletter
MLB Preview 2019: The teams that had the best offseasons

Steph doing Steph things


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