Thank You, Dirk

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Dirk Retires

Dallas Mavericks Legend Dirk Nowitzki Calls it a Career

The best European player of all time; that is undoubtedly the title that Dirk Nowitski is retiring with.

Nowitski confirmed this past Tuesday what many had anticipated, announcing his retirement in an emotional, star-packed ceremony during the Dallas Mavericks’ home finale win over the Phoenix Suns.

“I left Germany 20 years ago,” Nowitski said, “and I became a Texan.”

He arrived as a confused kid, with a bad bowl cut and limited English skills, before growing into a suave franchise spokesman and notorious trash-talker with a clutch resume that ranks among the all-time greats.

In an era, of no team loyalty and super-teams, Nowitski was one of the few that stayed with the same team his whole career, sacrificing himself, taking several hometown-discount deals and completely devoting himself to the Dallas Mavericks franchise. All of that is what made the 2011 NBA Championship so special.

“I belong to this city,” Nowitski would frequently say over the years, often as an explanation for why he took less money to stay or why he never seriously considered leaving even after many of his former teammates left and the Mavs entered a rebuilding phase.

Many will remember Dirk for his spectacular feats on the basketball court. He basically patented the one-legged fadeaway that many stars around the league have since copied. He also helped tremendously in growing the game internationally and paving the way for many other Europeans to enter the NBA. Not to mention the fact that he recently became only the sixth man in NBA history to hit the 30, 000-point milestone.

But for those in north Texas, some of the major Dirk memories will be the personal ones off the court. He became the face of an annual celebrity baseball game. He frequently visited Double-A Frisco RoughRiders games, helping to ballpark get sell-outs, with all proceeds benefitting children. Dirk visited the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas every year, making it a mandatory team event. “Uncle Dirk,” is what kids around the hospital called him.

The list goes on and on. Dirk Nowitski was a special player and is a very special person.

“I believe this is a situation where you have a man who ha all of these human qualities,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He is humble, he is kind, he is great. He is a great competitor, and he has been a guy who is too easy to take for granted. It will never be the same without him. It just won’t.”

Speaking on behalf of the Mavericks franchise and community, owner Mark Cuban made thanked Dirk Nowitski and made him a few promises. “I promise you that everything taught us will continue on. I promise you, you have a job for life. And I promise you that we are going to put up the biggest, most badass statue in front of the arena to honor you, Dirk!”

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