One of the great careers in modern NBA history came to a close this year, as longtime Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki has called it quits after 21 years and 1 NBA Championship with the franchise.
In his final NBA game — against his longtime in-state rivals, the San Antonio Spurs — Dirk put up 20 points and 10 boards, his first 20-10 game since March 11, 2017.
And while his in-game performance was certainly something worth remembering, it will likely be his pre-game emotion that provides the lasting image from Dirk’s final game.
On the road for the final game of his NBA career, Dirk had difficulty containing his emotions as the San Antonio Spurs — one of his fiercest rivals during his 21-year NBA career — ran a touching highlight tribute video to the German power forward before the game tipped-off.
And you know the rules: if Dirk starts crying, so do we. That’s just the rules.
During the course of his career, Dirk Nowitzki became an NBA MVP, an NBA Finals MVP, and an NBA Champion. However, perhaps most of all, he became a Texan.
“I left Germany 20 years ago,” Nowitzki said after announcing his retirement in Dallas on Tuesday, April 9, “and I became a Texan.”
Perhaps one of the most universally well-liked and respected stars in the history of modern American sports, Nowitzki will long be remembered for his commitment to the Dallas Mavericks organization.
In an era of trade demands and super teams, Nowitzki played all 21 years of his NBA career with the same franchise: the Dallas Mavericks.
And that longtime faith and loyalty was repaid to both Dirk and the Dallas Mavericks fans in 2011 when the aging and underdog Mavs, led by Dirk, upset The Big 3 of the Miami Heat — LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh — to win their first ever NBA Championship.