After 21 years and seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, 40-year-old NBA star Dirk Nowitzki has officially retired from the NBA. Last night the Mavericks scored a 120-109 win against the Phoenix Suns at home, making it the perfect time to bow out gracefully. Following the game, Nowitzki was honored in a ceremony where legends like Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, and Scottie Pippen paid tribute to the Mavericks players.
“As you guys might expect, this is my last home game,” Nowitzki said to a shocked audience. He took a few deep breaths and wiped away tears and continued by saying, “I’m trying my yoga breathing, but it’s not really working that well. This is obviously super, super emotional. There’s too many people to really thank. Obviously Mark [Cuban] and coach and the whole Mavs organization for not only tonight but for the 21 years. All the fans who’ve supported me…I’ve put you guys on a helluva ride with a lot of ups and downs and you guys always stuck with me and supported me, so I appreciate it.”
“Of course, thanks to my teammates who have supported me. I know it’s been a rough year for me physically, but the guys are always great and try to support me. I’ve probably had around 200 teammates in my 21 years and they were all great and supported me and pushed me, so I’m really appreciative.”
The star also thanked his family who came in from all over the world to see his big send-off on his home court. This, of course, comes at the same time that Dwyane Wade is saying goodbye to the NBA, as well.