While Dwyane Wade’s farewell tour has gotten a great deal of coverage this year since he announced before the season this would be “One Last Dance” in the NBA, another Hall of Famer in Dirk Nowitzki is likely on his final season, although he’s yet to announce it as such.
Both Wade and Nowitzki were honored at the All-Star Game in Charlotte with extra roster spots and were presented with framed jerseys — and some cool moments in the game. While Wade has done a ceremonial jersey swap after each road game, including with Dirk, Nowitzki’s final stop in each city has been without quite as much formal fanfare.
That is until he visited Staples Center on Monday for his last game against the Clippers, in which L.A. won 121-112. With just under 10 seconds to play and the game decided, Clippers coach Doc Rivers paused the game and grabbed the microphone from the P.A. announcer to honor Nowitzki as “one of the greatest of all time” and get the crowd to give him a standing ovation.
It’s a cool moment and nice gesture from Rivers, and Dirk seemed appreciative of it, even if slightly uncomfortable with it. Nowitzki obviously still sees himself as a competitor and, as such, it’s a bit awkward to take in a moment like that in a loss. However, with the Mavs effectively punting until next season with their moves around the trade deadline in an effort to build around Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, it’s allowed for the potential Nowitzki retirement tour to take a bit more precedent this season and get well deserved ovations from road crowds.