After scoring 30 points against the Suns on Tuesday night, Dirk Nowitzki confirmed that the Mavericks‘ final home game of the 2018/19 season will also be the last home game of his 21-year NBA career (Twitter link via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News). Nowitzki will retire at season’s end.
The ninth overall pick in the 1998 draft, Nowitzki spent his entire career with the Mavericks, appearing in over 1,500 regular season games with the team and playing in another 145 postseason contests. Over the course of two-plus decades in Dallas, Nowitzki averaged 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 2.4 APG on .471/.381/.879 shooting. He also memorably led the Mavs to an NBA championship in 2011 against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Heat.
The 40-year-old ranks third on the NBA’s all-time list of games played and total minutes, and shows up on many more of the league’s historical leaderboards. Nowitzki was named the MVP in 2007 and earned 14 All-Star berths to go along with 12 All-NBA nods. He is also the only player to have spent 21 seasons with a single franchise.
While Nowitzki talked throughout the year about possibly coming back for one more season, he’ll instead join Wade in retirement following tomorrow’s regular-season finale in San Antonio. Wade also played his final home game tonight.
As for his next step, Nowitzki wants to remain around the Mavericks even if he’s no longer playing for the team, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who tweets that the club has been planning a “unique role” for the future Hall-of-Famer. Mavs owner Mark Cuban promised tonight that Nowitzki would have a “job for life” with the organization (Twitter link via Marc Stein of The New York Times).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.