After 21 seasons, 14 time NBA All Star Dirk Nowitzki has officially called it a career. And it has been one hell of a ride.
To think about Dirk’s career as a whole really transcends time. Dirk has been around for the past 21 years, always making the strongest commitment to the team that traded for him on draft night in 1999, through thick and thin. Staying with the same franchise for your entire career is almost unheard of these days.
As a sports fan and an avid basketball guy, I owe a lot to Dirk. I’ve watched basketball for most of my life. Some of the earliest memories I have involve watching either basketball or baseball. Just as I became an actual adult (the jury is still out on that, at times), I started to watch basketball seriously; more as a student than a fan.
The case could be made that SLM would not exist without my fondness for athletes such as Dirk. Number 41 fueled my love affair for basketball as an adult, and influenced me to channel my passion into something more. Something bigger than myself. Which is exactly how Dirk played his entire career.
Some of my best sports memories involve my best friend and I being absolutely housed at Mavericks playoff games. In fact, we were talking, not long ago, about the time that we nearly got into a brawl with a litany of Maverick fans over some lady kicking the ever living shit out of my seat, while she screamed “GET A BOARD!”, while the team was on offense. (It may be hard to believe but when I was younger, I was even more confrontational than I am now.)
None of those things would be possible without this enigma of a human. Dirk is the epitome of class, and a model of what we should all be, as a society.
It really is impossible to put in to words what Dirk means to me, everyone in Dallas and people around the world. There is only one word that comes to mind that is synonymous with Dirk and that is “legend”.