Dirk Nowitzki didn’t make it official until the game was over. He will retire at the end of this season and Tuesday night was his final home game.
The possibility of Dirk Nowitzki returning for a 22nd season with Dallas Mavericks has lingered all year, with Dirk unwilling to publicly make anything official. But, after a 30-point performance in the Mavericks’ final home game of the season, Dirk said what everyone had been expecting.
This was it.
The Mavericks were clearly prepared for the moment, moving seamlessly from victory into a postgame ceremony honoring the greatest player in franchise history, with legends like Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Detlef Schrempf and Shawn Kemp speaking about Dirk’s achievements and lasting impact.
Dirk will walk away with the sixth-most points in NBA history and nearly twice as many made 3-pointers as any other 7-footer. He will always be remembered for that incredible title run in 2011 and 21 years worth of game-changing, floor-stretching, imagination-expanding moments. The greatest shooting big man in league history, he helped usher in a new era of basketball, redefining what a 7-footer could do on the basketball court and all the schemes and strategies that would unlock. Dirk will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible, and he will almost certainly accept the honor with the same blissful joy with which he seems to have experienced the rest of his career.
Dirk will be leaving the Dallas Mavericks in a strong position. Luka Doncic has been sensational and will likely be recognized as Rookie of the Year. Next season Kristaps Porzingis will return to the court and look to continue expanding the inside-out big man legacy that Dirk began building more than two decades ago.