Dirk Nowitzki on April 9th after the Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns 120-109 announced that would be his last home game in a Mavericks uniform. It was a starter studded night that featured NBA greats such as Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Charles Barkley, and Detlef Schrempf. Larry Bird would be the last one to speak before the mic was handed to Dirk Nowitzki.
Larry Bird began his speech by telling the Mavericks crowd that he remembers when Mavs Coach Rich Carlisle’s daughter was born, “ but to put things in real perspective, I was 15 when Dirk came in the league now I’m 62.”
“Dirk it has been an honor watching you over the years and just like Scottie said, you played the game the right way. The game is better because of you and the one thing I tell people, especially younger players in the league, [is] leave the game better than you found it so this game can continue to go on forever. And being the older gentleman here, the one thing you have to do now, is find out what you want to do. And like I told Scottie years ago, one more year.”
Bird would entice the crowd and started chanting one more year Bird would then thanked Dirk for all the memories and said, “God bless you brother.”
Mark Cuban, would grab the mic after Dirk made it official and made him a bunch of promises like a job for life; to retire his number and to put “the biggest, most badass statue” outside the American Airline Center.
Earlier this year I spoke with both Dirk and Mark about each other’s interest in Dirk owning a piece of the Mavericks in the future.
Cuban replied “Sure.”
Dirk would respond to comments by stating “It is an honor that he said that, I want to focus on me still playing, and whatever I decided to do after my career. We will cross that bridge when we get there,” Nowitzki told me.
Before Dirk’s in San Antonio, I spoke with Cuban and shared with him that Dirk said it would be an honor for him even to bring it up.
”Dirk is key to this franchise, so I am open to every decision. It is something that we will talk about I don’t know when, but if it is something that he is interested in of course,” said Cuban.
”I would be honored, obviously, if that is something in the future. That is something that is far away, but I would love to have conversations, I said it a million times I would love to be apart of the Mavericks organization for the rest of my life. In which function we will have to wait and see. Other things are first, for now, that is enjoying my family, and everything else is secondary,” Nowitzki told me.
Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade are now slated to be for the headliners of the 2024 Hall of Fame class.