Dirk Nowitzki Announces Retirement from NBA After 21 Seasons with Mavericks

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Dirk Nowitzki Announces Retirement from NBA After 21 Seasons with Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41) is introduced for the team's NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Dallas, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Dirk Nowitzki treated Dallas Mavericks fans at American Airlines Center to one last show Tuesday.

The future Hall of Famer poured in a season-high 30 points in the Mavericks’ 120-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns before confirming he will retire after 21 seasons, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Jori Epstein of USA Today shared Nowitzki’s speech to the crowd, during which he revealed this was the final home game of his career:

Nowitzki always seemed likely to retire after this season, although he told reporters in February he wasn’t officially closing the door on coming back in 2019-20.

The 40-year-old is clearly no longer the player he was in his prime, and he entered play Tuesday averaging 6.6 points on 35.8 percent shooting, 2.9 rebounds and 0.6 assists. While all of those are career-low marks, it hasn’t stopped fans in opposing arenas and Dallas from greeting him with standing ovations and gratitude throughout the 2018-19 campaign.

The warm welcomes are certainly warranted given his career accomplishments.

Nowitzki was the 2006-07 league MVP, the 2011 NBA Finals MVP, a 12-time All-NBA selection and a 14-time All-Star. He led the Mavericks to victory over a Miami Heat squad featuring LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in those 2011 Finals, further cementing his legacy.

Nowitzki is arguably the best international player in league history. He helped destroy preconceived notions about European players, which is evident as he passes the Mavericks’ torch to Slovenian star Luka Doncic.

Earlier this season, the German star moved up to sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, James and Michael Jordan. He fittingly did so with his vintage fadeaway from the top of the key:

The next stop for the Mavericks icon is the Hall of Fame.

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