But now at 40 years old, it has taken a toll. Nowitzki cried near midcourt when the second quarter was about to resume after a special video played at the arena. "I think we've made a big deal about this being his a year ago, and I think he's coming back".
"This is obviously super, super emotional".
Nowitzki walked away from the National Basketball Association on Wednesday night after a glittering 21-season career. That was after speeches from Larry Bird and others he idolized growing up in Germany.More news: Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins primed for playoff rematch
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He will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game and one of the most entertaining players to ever watch. "That was my No. 1. M-V-P!" Nowitzki won the league's regular-season MVP award in 2006-07 and earned NBA Finals MVP in 2011, when he delivered Dallas its lone championship. Some wishfully changed "one more year".
Thanks for everything, Dirk. "I promise you a job for life".
"We don't know who we are going to play, what seed, doesn't even matter, I guess. And we'll put it right in front of the arena". As fate would have it, a similar Jordan mark fell during the contest when Phoenix's Jamal Crawford scored 51 points at age 39, becoming the oldest player to top 50 in a game, but the night was all about the greatest player in Mavs history. Nowitzki reached that spot last season, but LeBron James passed him.
"It will never be the same around here", said Rick Carlisle, who coached Nowitzki for his final 11 seasons. Nowitzki had not made that clear before, and had hinted at possibly returning next season, even as his 21st National Basketball Association campaign was celebrated by the Mavs, their opponents during road games and even the league itself as his farewell tour. "I'll stay here. This is my new home with my wife and my kids", he said. I can always push myself to work out and work hard.
The legacy, however, is. The City of Dallas also thanked him for 21 years of giving back to the community on and off the court. "I'll see you soon", he said.