April 10, 2019
Photo: Tony Gutierrez (AP Photo)
41: The only number he wore on his jersey.
21: The total number of seasons he played.
1: The total number of teams he played for.
Dirk Nowitzki, in an emotional post-game ceremony on his final home game on Tuesday, April 9th, officially announced his retirement. In typical Dirk fashion, he said, “As you guys might expect, this is my last home game,” then, after tearing up as the crowd cheered, he joked, “I’m trying my yoga-breathing but it’s not really working that well.”
Have you ever noticed what you say when you’re speechless?
“Wow” is my favorite word when I don’t know what else to say. There have been plenty of times watching #41 when “wow” was the only thing I knew to say.
The Tall Baller from the G, @swish41, is arguably the most beloved athlete in the history of the metroplex. In Texas, hockey fans love Modano. Baseball fans love Pudge and Rusty. Football fans love the Triplets. Still, there is something special about Dirk.
I am born and raised in Dallas. I was 11 when Dirk started his career and I remember where I was when they won the championship in 2011. I remember my birthday getting ruined in 2006 thanks to a Game 4 loss in the Finals. I remember getting my head shaved for a “No Need For Clippers” Night against Los Angeles on my first opportunity to see Dirk in person.
I remember the time I was at a local racquet club and Dirk, who loves tennis, was playing on an indoor court. He was kind enough to greet me between games. I didn’t want an autograph. I didn’t want a picture. I simply wanted to tell him “I love you, man.”
Tuesday night was epic, with quite the list of guests. Aside from former teammates of Dirk’s, NBA legends like Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf were there. It also seemed like half of the Dallas Cowboys were in attendance. Even #43, George W. Bush, had a video for #41.
And in other typical Dirk fashion, at the very end when Dirk had time to get off one final shot, he chose not to. He had already become only the second player to score 30 points at age 40. Dirk is pure class.
It was an amazing night for the NBA.
Wayne Dwade and Earvin Johnson made headlines (I lost the hyperlinks).
Paul George and Moe Harkless did some stuff, too.
Even Luka and Jamal Crawford had amazing games in the same building. OK, cool.
But that building is the house that Dirk built.
Thank you, Dirk. We love you, man.