By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
German icon Dirk Nowitzki announced his retirement from the NBA after a record 21 seasons with the same franchise the Dallas Mavericks, after scoring 30 points in his final home game, a 120-109 win over the Phoenix Suns on the last home game of the season.
Nowitzki’s final basket in Dallas was his signature one-legged fadeaway from slightly above the free throw line for a 120-108 lead with 1:22 remaining.
After speeches from Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Shawn Kemp, Scottie Pippen and Detlef Schrempf which he idolized growing up in Germany, Nowitzki told the crowd, “As you guys might expect, this is my last home game.”
“This is obviously super, super emotional,” Nowitzki said. “Just too many people to really thank. I put you guys on a helluva ride with a lot of ups and downs, and you guys always stuck with me and supported me, so I appreciate it.”
Nowitzki is retiring after passing Wilt Chamberlain to regain sixth on the NBA All-Time career scoring list. The former “wunderkind” who led the Mavericks to their only championship in 2011, has 31,540 points with one game left.
The NBA’s highest-scoring foreign-born player broke Kobe Bryant’s record of 20 seasons with the same franchise, although it took longer than expected because of setbacks following ankle surgery that sidelined Nowitzki for the first 26 games.
The 14-time All-Star has one game remaining, Dallas’ season finale at San Antonio. He has also won the MVP and MVP finals award and also won one silver Eurobasket medal and one bronze World Cup medal with the German national team. Due to his success both with the NBA and the – otherwise weak – German national team he is considered the best European player ever.
Dallas honored his legacy with special video tributes during the game. In one of them he mentioned Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Shawn Kemp, Scottie Pippen and Detlef Schrempf as his idols and all of them were present to honor him in Dallas.