Dirk Nowitzki said goodbye to the NBA the same way he came into the league, smoothly draining a jumper over a defender to punctuate a passionate performance.
It was only fitting that Nowitzki’s final shot came against the San Antonio Spurs, a team he terrorized in the regular season and post-season. This time, however, the tears it stirred were tears of joy.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 34 points and 16 rebounds and the Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-94 Wednesday night in Nowitzki’s final game.
‘Everybody, players, fans, coaches and staff got to witness history watching him play his last game,’ San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ‘He played a fine game, which was great. It’s not surprising.’
Nowitzki finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the finale of his storied 21-season career – all with the Mavericks. Nowitzki announced he was retiring Tuesday night following Dallas’ final home game of the season.
Wednesday’s sell-out crowd cheered wildly each time Nowitzki entered the game or touched the ball and let out a collective groan when he missed a shot. He was serenaded with chants of ‘MVP!’ throughout the game by the crowd filled with patrons wearing his No. 41 jersey.