On Tuesday night, Dallas Mavericks’ star Dirk Nowitzki confirmed what everyone pretty much knew all along; he is retiring from the NBA after this season. Nowitzki announced his decision following the 120-109 win over Phoenix Suns in which the 40-year-old German forward scored season-high 30 points.
Following the final buzzer, Mavericks honored Nowitzki with an elaborate postgame ceremony which featured appearances from some of his basketball heroes including Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp, and Detlef Schrempf. They joined Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle and team’s owner Mark Cuban in delivering speeches in Nowitzki’s honor.
“Mark, can’t wait to see what you’ve got for my jersey retirement,” – said Nowitzki after taking the microphone. “I mean, this is a high bar that you set. But as you guys might expect, this is my last home game. I’m trying my yoga breathing, but it’s not really working that well. This is obviously super, super emotional.”
You can watch the full post-game celebration below.
At the postgame press conference, Nowitzki spoke about reasons for his retirement saying that the decision was largely influenced by his recent injuries.
“I think it’s been a long time coming,” – he explained. “I was struggling this year with my foot. That’s no secret. It’s just not there where it needs to be to compete at a high level for 82 games. I felt actually some of the best today, but I’ve got a lot of treatment over the course of the season — pills, injections. It just doesn’t make any sense anymore to keep doing that for another season, even though I’d love to be there. I’d love to be there with [Kristaps Porzingis] and Luka [Doncic] and all these young guys and have fun with them and mentor them as much as I can. But it just doesn’t make any sense anymore physically.”
Dirk Nowitzki was forced to miss the first 26 games of the season after suffering a foot injury during a pickup game in September. After getting back to the court, he struggled with pain which caused him to play career-low minutes. Nowitzki played 50 games in total this season, and averaged 7.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
Nowitzki spent his entire NBA career with Dallas Mavericks, playing 21 seasons in the league. During his time with the organization, he managed to win NBA title and NBA MVP award while earning 14 All-Star appearances and four All-NBA First Team honors.