For 21 seasons in the NBA the words Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki became synonymous with one another. The future Hall of Famer will headline along with Dwyane Wade the 2024 Class.
The two have faced each other a lot since Wade entered the league in 2003, even giving us two NBA Finals series to remember. Both were able to one-up each other just six years apart to bring their franchises their first championships.
Recently Wade has one-up Nowitzki again when he became a part owner of the Utah Jazz.
“This goes way beyond the dream I had to just play basketball in the NBA,” Wade told ESPN. “I’ve seen Shaq do it in Sacramento. I’ve seen Grant Hill do it in Atlanta. I’ve seen Jordan do it in Charlotte. If this partnership is going to be anything like my relationship is with Ryan, there are going to be a lot of things that I’ll want to be involved in. …
“Unfortunately, people in my community don’t get this opportunity, and I do not take it lightly to have this opportunity. To make real change, this is where you have to be — at the top — and Ryan knows that. I’m thankful for him, and I know too that I bring a lot to this partnership outside of just my basketball knowledge and skills.”
However, when asked on several occasions, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said he is interested in discussing it. When I spoke to Cuban about the matter in 2019, he said, “sure.”
A couple days later Nowitzki responded, “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,” said Nowitzki.
Brendan Haywood, who won a championship with Nowitzki in 2011. Haywood now works for NBA TV along with the Washington Wizards, and recently weighed in on the matter.
“I think what Dirk has done for the organization, how he has represented himself and the community, and the championship that they brought to Dallas. I think it is only right a small percentage of the Dallas Mavericks,” said Haywood.
“Just a small percentage and a seat at the table because you think of Dirk Nowitzki when you think of the Dallas Mavericks. You think of 2011 and that special team and that special run that he went on. So, when you think about all the sacrifices to help make that name, the Dallas Mavericks great. I think Dirk and Mark Cuban becoming partners in some way somehow is just the next step.”
Haywood is not the only former teammate that feels it is fitting. Devon Harris also is someone who says it’s fitting.
“I think it is fitting. What he has done for this organization, and he poured his heart, sweat, and tears about it, and brought a championship back,” said Harris.
“I think it would be a fitting way to end it or begin it. By giving him a piece of that and allowing him to make some of those discussions.”
Following the Mavericks final home game against the Phoenix Suns in 2019, Nowitzki announced that he would be retiring from the NBA after 21 years. During the ceremony, Mark Cuban announced that he had a job for life in whatever capacity he wanted.
“I promise you that everything you taught us will continue on,” said Cuban.
“I promise you; you have a job for life. And Cuban said he’s going to put the “biggest, most badass statue” in front of the arena to honor Dirk.”
Dirk Nowitzki holds the records of most years (21) in the league with one team passing 2020 Hall of Fame member Kobe Bryant.