When you look at professional athletes who have sacrificed everything in an attempt to win that elusive championship, the Ronnie Lott’s and Michael Jordan’s of the world come to mind first.

The moment we realized Lott was different was when he had a broken finger amputated in the offseason in order to avoid missing extended time as a member of the 1986 San Francisco 49ers.

For Jordan, it was all about the flu game.

And while Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t risked his health any more than other NBA players, he did make a strong dent in his pocket book this past offseason in order to help his team field a winner.

The future Hall of Famer signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Mavericks as a free agent back in July. He did so despite being on the open market and coming off a campaign that saw him earn $22.7 million while putting up yet another stellar campaign.

Now after the addition of Rajon Rondo in a trade with the Boston Celtics, Nowitzki’s $8 million salary for the 2014-2015 season is the lowest among Mavericks starters.

Add in Rondo’s $12.9 million salary and deduct the contracts of those who were traded to Boston, and you see a story of Nowitzki making sure that his Mavericks have all the pieces to field a championship contender for the remainder of the season.

It’s the ultimate team-friendly act in a sports landscape that seems to be cluttered with egocentric athletes attempting to line their pocket books.

We don’t know if the acquisition of Rondo by the Mavericks will earn Dirk his first championship. The Western Conference is an absolute monster right now.

But what we do know is that Mark Cuban wouldn’t have been able to make this blockbuster deal without the future Hall of Fame forward putting his team first.

Photo: NBA.com