Let’s talk winning. What does it take to win in the NBA? Take a look at the greatest teams in the history of basketball: the Boston Celtics (17 championships), the Los Angeles Lakers (16 championships), the Chicago Bulls (six championships), and the San Antonio Spurs (five). What do they all have in common?

Each one of those teams had the quintessential leader. For the Celtics it was Bill Russell in the 60s and Larry Bird in the 80s. The Lakers had Magic Johnson in the 80s and Kobe Bryant in the 2000s. The Bulls had Michael Jordan during the 90s. The Spurs had The Admiral, David Robinson, and now Tim Duncan.

These players did so much more than score baskets — they grabbed responsibility and led by example. Of course each one of these great ballplayers had some of the best supporting casts of all time–Jordan had Pippen, Rodman, Longly; Russell had K.C. Jones, Kobe had Shaq. But these select few players had what every team needs, the ability to put team first.

The 2014 Dallas Mavericks have Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki is a player that shows up, every game, to win. He leads by example. Nowitzki rarely misses the opportunity to work on his game. O.J. Mayo recently had nothing but praise about Nowitzki’s work ethic.“He was in here working out and staying in shape,” Mayo said. “It was a crazy, crazy thing to see because he’s a franchise player and he was here early like it’s his first or second year. I think that’s enough said there.”

In all the years that I’ve watched basketball I can’t think of any Maverick who can honestly say that. Nowitzki’s work ethic speaks for itself; however, this week Nowitzki did something that proves he’s a born leader and a better teammate than Lebron James, DeWayne Wade, Chirs Bosh, and the like. Nowitzki recently resigned with the Dallas Mavericks…not big news.

A player of Nowitzki’s caliber draws hug interests from other teams around the league. He turned them down…all of them. Los Angeles and Houston offered Dirk the maximum…roughly half of what he signed for –$25 million over three years.

This isn’t the first time Nowitzki turned down max offers to stay with the Mavs. In 2010 he signed a deal that was almost $20 million less than the maximum. In 2014 Dirk took less money in order for the Mavericks to be able to sign Chandler Parsons. This is a move that puts the Mavericks back into serious contention for the title in 2014.

The signing of Parsons ices the cake for the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk recognizes that he needs a supporting cast of players to help bring the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy back to Dallas. After the trade last month that brought 2012 Defensive Player of the Year winner Tyson Chandler (yes…the guy who helped Dallas win it all in 2011) and the acquisition of the other Chandler, Nowitzki sits in the driver’s seat.

Nowitzki wants to win. Nowitzki took massive pay cuts throughout his career to do so. His loyalty to the Mavericks and to the fans is unmatched these days. With the recent signing of Parsons and the trade for Tyson Chandler back in June, the Mavericks are gunning for another title run in 2014. The Mavericks’ fans have one person to thank for that…Dirk Nowitzki.

Lookout NBA, the Mavericks are coming.