At Dirk Nowitzki’s last home game in Dallas, there was a large celebration of his career. At one point, he said in jest to owner Mark Cuban, “Can’t wait to see what you got for my jersey retirement.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 5, he will know. Number 41 will never be worn again. The jersey will be retired after the game.
“I am excited for this big event tomorrow, and just going to really soak it all in, and try to enjoy and really have a blast with the fans and with the people I love,” said Nowitzki at a news conference Tuesday.
Nowitzki is the only NBA player to play 21 seasons with the same franchise.
He was drafted in 1998. Coming from Germany, Nowitzki said all he knew about Dallas is what he had seen his parents watching on the TV series. Nowitzki reflected on his life when he first arrived.
“I was always a shy and glass is half empty kind of guy, and then the first year was of course super, super hard, and it took me a while to get going. So, I mean if you had told me in year one I would play for 21 years, I would have probably not believed it. It worked out amazing,” he added.
Nowitzki is also well-known and respected for what he does off the court. Visiting children in the hospital, and doing other charity work.
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“I have had a little bit of time, two, two and half years to read some of the letters I have gotten or when I’m out in town how many people have come up to me and said thank you for my services. That's special,” said Nowitzki, getting choked up.
Fans at the game will take home some Nowitzki memorabilia. The concourse will also have a museum-like feeling, with some of his personal collection, like rings and jerseys.
“We were thinking how this night could also be special for obviously the fans and the Mavs came up with that idea if I have some stuff laying around the house that would be interesting,” he added.
The ceremony will be after the game, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to attend.