Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki confirmed his retirement from the National Basketball Association on Tuesday, April 9 (Wednesday, April 10, Manila time), calling time on a 21-season career that saw him become the greatest European player ever to grace the league. Following the Mavericks' victory against the Phoenix Suns, during which Nowitzki scored a season-high 30 points, the team held a heartfelt ceremony for the big German. After speeches from Larry Bird and others he idolised growing up in Germany, Nowitzki told the crowd, "this is my last home game". Earlier this season, Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer explored how hard it was for Nowitzki to prepare for games as a 40-year-old.
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Dirk Nowitzki gets emotional after announcing that he played his last home game.
But on this special night, Nowitzki turned back the clock, and so did the crowd as it chanted "M-V-P!"
Perhaps just as significantly, Nowitzki's playing style, as a seven-footer whose long-range shooting skills forced defenders far away from the basket, presaged the direction in which the league would head. You guys always stuck with me and supported me.
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He broke Kobe Bryant's record of 20 seasons with the Lakers. Nowitzki made 14 All-Star games and earned All-NBA honors 12 times in his 21-year NBA career played entirely with the Mavericks. Then he had another dunk in the game - his second of the season - in the second half.
"This is my new home", Nowitzki said.
He also made more than $250 million.
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