Former NBA superstar Again a sea of tears? – Nowitzki before memorable evening
When Dirk Nowitzki said goodbye to the NBA in 2019, there were great guests and many tears. Now another emotional evening is on the agenda.
Dallas – Almost three years after his memorable and tearful farewell, Dirk Nowitzki is facing his next big emotional test.
For the retired basketball superstar from Wurzburg rises on 6. January (1.30 CET/DAZN and NBA League Pass) in his beloved adopted hometown of Dallas, a ceremony in which the Mavericks will pull Nowitzki’s jersey with the 41 under the hall ceiling and never give that number again thereafter. "This will be a very special evening. I’m sure they’ll surprise me with something again", said the 43-year-old, who lives in Texas with his wife Jessica and their three children even after their careers are over.
Nowitzki: "I want to be surprised"
In April 2019, the Mavericks and club boss Mark Cuban brought Nowitzki’s idols Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf to the arena for the very last home game. The light in the American Airlines Center was projected on the German at that time, it became a touching evening with many tears and memorable images. Will there be another similar sea of tears at the tribute before the Mavericks’ season game against the Golden State Warriors?
Nowitzki has no desire to dwell on it. "I do not want to know beforehand what they do and who speaks in a video. I just want to be surprised by all the emotions. It’s going to be overwhelming, that’s for sure", said the best German basketball player in history. Nowitzki has remained loyal to the club for 21 years and has never played for another club in his NBA career. "I have always felt the loyalty of those in charge and the fans. It was easy for me to stay here", said Nowitzki.
Nowitzki is one of the best of all time
Über two decades, culminating in the first title in the club’s history in 2011, officials are expected to fast forward through the ceremony once again. Nowitzki already has his own street in the Texas city of millions, and there will also be a statue in front of the arena. The one-legged jump shot has already been graphically immortalized on the hall floor. For the modest Franconian, this is almost too much of an honor. "This is absolutely surreal. To see the statue one day, that makes me super proud", he said. Nowitzki is "super excited", what to expect from him over the next few months.
The former basketball star is an advisor to his Mavericks and an ambassador for the 2022 European Championship, which will be held in Cologne and Berlin, among other cities. In the meantime, another German is playing in Dallas who, like Nowitzki, also comes from Wurzburg: Maximilian Kleber. "That the jersey is lifted is absolutely deserved, and I’m totally happy about that too. Everybody who has anything to do with basketball knows, who Dirk is. He is one of the best of all time", Kleber told the German Press Agency.
In an international media round Nowitzki chatted recently loose and humorous. During the conference, which was conducted via Zoom, he answered questions even after the organizers had already decided to end the round. Nowitzki’s wall was adorned with a framed picture commemorating the game in which the Mavericks star reached the special mark of 30.000 points cracked.
After many years of hardships, Nowitzki is now enjoying life as a private citizen. The focus is on the family with the three children Max, Malaika and Morris. "We traveled a lot, we took a lot of time for the family. That is great", commented Nowitzki on his new situation. He could "not complain at all", he said.