Credit: AFP-Scanpix
Credit AFP-Scanpix

Mavericks icon Dirk Nowitzki had his No. 41 jersey retired when Dallas hosted the Golden State Warriors last night.

Nowitzki, now 43, is the fourth player to have his jersey retired by the Mavericks. The others are guards Rolando Blackman (22), Brad Davis (15), and Derek Harper (12).

Members of the 2011 title team took part in the ceremony, including Peja Stojakovic, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, and current Mavs head coach Jason Kidd.

"You have set the standards for what it means to work and to win," Kidd spoke. "You played the game at the highest level. We could count on you but I do not know if you could count on us, but we tried."

Moreover, he added: "On behalf of the championship team, we want to say thank you - you, being you. You have changed the game, now everybody shoots threes. But the biggest thing is – you have always been the champion, since day one. And Dallas has watched you grow to become the man, you are today."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Mavs owner Mark Cuban were also on hand and were part of the ceremony.

The latter unveiled a special recognition of Nowitzki, for the first time presenting a  statue model, which will eventually stand outside the Mavs arena. The statue captures Nowitzki's signature move – a one-legged, fade-away jumper.

"We didn't do this because you won us the championship," Cuban said. "This is because of who you are, what you've done, and we always want to recognize greatness forevermore."

Nowitzki was a 14-time All-Star during 21 seasons with Dallas. He also led the franchise to its lone NBA title in 2011.

The German basketball great retired in 2019 as the Mavericks' all-time leader in most categories, including points, rebounds, and blocks. His career point total (31,560) ranks sixth on the NBA all-time list.

2-pointers this season

Points made: 26,5
Accuracy: 53,5%
Place in standings: 18
Record max: 39
Record min: 15
Most made 2FGs: Luka Doncic

He was league MVP for the 2006-07 season and played for Dallas from 1998-2019.

Dallas and Golden State match was not selected at random, because Dirk is also linked to the Warriors through his relationship with Don Nelson, the legendary Golden State coach, who orchestrated Dallas' draft-night acquisition of the German star from the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998.

Dirk referred to his family members, former teammates, coaches, fans, and thanked them for the extraordinary support, he received from all of them.

"Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for making this journey incredible," Nowitzki said in his speech. "And thank you for taking in a long, lanky kid over 20 years ago and making him one of your own. I'll be always grateful."

Fellow European Luka Doncic, the current face of the Mavericks franchise, paid tribute to the historic athlete as well.

"He means everything to me and to this franchise," Mavericks star said after the duel. "He did everything to Dallas, Dallas gave it back… He deserves this and everything that happens to him. But like I said, he's a hell of a player, he was one of the best. But one thing that stands out for him is the great person he is, one of the most humble superstars ever. He deserves everything that happens to him."

Full ceremony

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Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk  Nowitzki
Position: PF
Age: 43
Height: 213 cm
Weight: 111 kg
Birth place: Wurzburg, Germany