41: one of the greatest

Last night, Dirk Nowitzki, the 6th highest all-time NBA scorer, announced that the Dallas Mavericks’ 120-109 home win over the Phoenix Suns would be his last home game. He was brought to tears as he announced the end of an era in Dallas basketball.

Nowitzki was born and raised in Würzburg, Germany. He drew the attention of several scouts after attending basketball competitions in America. The Dallas Mavericks, a fringe team in the league, acquired the then-19-year-old in a draft day trade with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Nowitzki would be joined by another draft day pickup, Steve Nash, and, along with Michael Finley, would rescue the Mavericks from their also-ran status. The Mavs would reach their first NBA Finals in 2006 only to fall to the Miami Heat.

In 2011, the NBA was taken by shock when Nowitzki led Dallas to its first NBA title. With the Larry O’Brien Trophy in his grasp, Nowitzki cemented his status an all-time great. In the 2000’s, he was a regular All-Star while compiling a Hall-of-Fame caliber statistical profile.

As Slovenian rookie Luka Dončić ushers the Mavs onward with his stellar season, one thing is clear: no one can ever repeat with Dirk Nowitzki did. A career of hard work, loyalty to one’s team, and honesty is rare to find in modern day professional sports. Dirk Nowitzki is a true Dallas icon, and a testament that greatness comes from hard work. Thank you, Dirk.