Dirk Nowitzki’s NBA career is officially over.
The German big man that could shoot the lights out officially announced his retirement on Wednesday, but before he could wrap everything up he had to finish out one final game for the Mavericks in San Antonio against the Spurs. It wasn’t quite the proper send off he deserved, but Dirk did get a nice tribute video from the Spurs and a raucous crowd in support of him.
Then came time for his final moment as an NBA player. With less than a minute to go and the game well out of hand, Dirk held the ball with MVP chants raining down on him. In true Dirk fashion, with a player all over him, he faded away and hit a jumper. His trademark move. The crowd went nuts and his career was capped off perfectly. It would have been better in Dallas, but it was pretty great in San Antonio.
There’s a lot that’s great about this video. Not just with Dirk making the shot and the crowd’s incredible reaction to it, but look at Gregg Popovich on the sidelines. He’s screaming at Drew Eubanks to get off of Dirk and let him take the shot. Then, when the shot goes in, he claps in congratulation of Dirk. He understood the moment and he wanted that for him.
As for Eubanks, he’s pretty thrilled Dirk made it because he ignored his coach’s orders to back off, contesting the shot — which, honestly, made it all the better moment.
This marks the end of a truly storied career. Nowitzki will finish his career sixth all-time in scoring, an MVP, a champion, and arguably the greatest international player ever. He’s a pioneer and changed the perception of European players in the league, and did it all with a smile and lethal jumper. He’s Dirk and his game will be missed by basketball fans everywhere.