Dirk Nowitzki finished his NBA career on the road against the Spurs on Wednesday. The Mavericks legend had a wonderful send off on Tuesday in Dallas and he concluded it by announcing his retirement. It would have been the perfect way to end a career, but instead, he had to play one final game in San Antonio. A weird footnote to his amazing career.
The Spurs could have just ignored the moment and let it play out as normal. Dirk never wanted the retirement tour he got. He just wanted to go out and play. However, San Antonio couldn’t help but acknowledge the greatness that is Dirk’s career.
Before Dirk’s final game the Spurs played him one final tribute video of all the incredible moments he had in his career against them. It features clips against Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, the time he won MVP, and even some playoff eliminations. It’s a really touching sentiment from an organization that didn’t have to do this.
This helps end a little bit of the awkwardness that is Dirk finishing out his career in a game that doesn’t matter on the road. Would this have been better in Dallas? Absolutely. The NBA should try to take that into account with scheduling when possible — the same goes for Wade’s final game in Brooklyn. Dirk was in his 21st season, and even if he never said he was going to retire they could play the odds on that one and assume he’s going to.
Still, it’s a great chance to celebrate Dirk one final time before he’s done. At least they didn’t put him too far away like Los Angeles. San Antonio is close enough that plenty of Mavericks fans were probably able to get in and give Dirk a proper send off and many of the Spurs fans will probably do the same. After all, he’s a legend.