Auf Wiedersehen Dirk
Twenty-one glorious seasons.
That is what Dirk Nowitzki has given the world.
Going into the last game of his amazing career tonight, Dirk has tallied 31,540 points, 11,479 rebounds, 3,650 assists, 1,521 games, one MVP award, 14 All-Star appearances, 12 All-NBA nominations, and arguably one of the greatest NBA Championships ever.
Dirk’s career has been legendary.
The stats don’t tell it all though.
Loyalty. Dedication. Humility.
These were the characteristics that really set Dirk apart in the common era of a superstar. He never left his team when they weren’t succeeding. He often times ended up taking smaller contracts that would allow the team to bring in better players. He never left to join a team that would allow him to play with other top players, just so he could get another championship.
The guy brought meals from home that his wife would cook him.
This article serves two purposes. The first being to give you some information on this legend. The second being a farewell to my all-time favorite player.
Although you will probably never read this, I just want to say thank you. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, words can’t fully express what your career has meant to me as a fan.
As a kid, I wasn’t the most athletically gifted. I was somewhat awkward. I didn’t have a player that I could look at and say, “That could be me”.
I constantly was trying to find an NBA player that I could model and mold my game after. Then I saw you.
The mid-range shot. The turn around fadeaway after posting up. The 3-point range. The passion and love for the game that you showed.
That is when I knew, you were my favorite player. I practiced your moves. I worked on trying to be a humble player. I tried to not only love the game, but give it all that I had while enjoying every minute of it.
After high school, I spent even more time watching the NBA and watching your greatness. It was my goal to start collecting Dirk items for my sports collection and to see you play in person.
I took an extremely long road to get to that point, but finally I was able to get cards, jerseys, and bobbleheads.
However, one of the most exciting moments for me, was this season when my fiancée and I got to see you play in Minneapolis on January 11th.
There were so many fans there that wanted to see you one last time. For me, it was about seeing the guy I looked up to for the last 20 years as a player and a person.
After your shootaround, you did your signing of items for fans. One by one, you worked your way around. You signed pictures, jerseys, cards, and flags. You signed one last item before heading into the locker room, the basketball that I had brought.
It is the prize piece to my sports collection. It is literally priceless for me. That moment is a moment I will never forget.
As I write this, my emotions are almost impossible to keep in check. How do you say goodbye to a player who has meant so much for not only me as a person, but the Mavericks organization, the city of Dallas, the NBA, and the country of Germany?
The answer isn’t easy, but yet it is at the same time.
I simply wish you the best that life can give you. I hope that you can find the same joy in retirement that you found on the court.
Thank you for always being you.
If you are ever in the Wisconsin area, lunch is on me. I promise.
Auf Wiedersehen and danke.