Dirk Nowitzki reacts to Doc Rivers touching tribute in Los Angeles
In what many people have considered being the final season of Dirk Nowtizki’s storied career, his final seconds on the court of the Staples Center this season was headlined by the actions of the Los Angeles Clippers’ head coach.
With just less than 10 seconds left in a game the Clippers were leading by nine, Doc Rivers called a timeout, walked to the scorer’s table, picked up the public address microphone and gave a tribute to the Mavericks legend.
Nowitzki said the experience was “humbling and very emotional at times.”
The 40-year-old power forward from Germany has not treated this season as a farewell tour, like Kobe Bryant, Derek Jeter, and many other sports icons in recent history have. Therefore, he never expected to receive tributes like Rivers’ praise at all this season.
“It started a few weeks ago in Charlotte, that’s what I remember,” Nowtizki said regarding the response he’s received from fans on the road this season. “They were yelling ‘We want Dirk,’ and it snowballed from there. That was incredible.”
He finished what could be his final game in Staples Center with 12 points, five rebounds, and one assist in 24 minutes of action.
In his 21st season in the NBA, Nowitzki has a plethora of games in Los Angeles under his belt. However, two specific games stands out to him.
“It has to be when we beat the Lakers here in the playoffs in 2011,” he said. “We stole game one and beat them pretty handily in game two. The playoffs are the most important moments, and to steal two on the road against the defending champs, I’ll never forget those two games.”
In the pair of contests against the Lakers, Nowtizki averaged 26 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Despite the fact that most people nationwide are treating this season as Nowitzki’s last, he doesn’t want anyone to jump to any conclusions yet.
“We’ll see what the rest of the season brings,” he said. “It’s been great. I’m really emotional in some of these buildings and the reception from the fans has been incredible.”
Nowitzki said he wants to be remembered as a multi-faceted team player.
“A guy who, obviously could shoot it, always tried to be there for his team and franchise, wanted to win, wanted to compete,” he said. “Just enjoy competing and enjoy playing the sport that I love.”