Two games in the NBA ended amid emotional scenes on Tuesday night as legends at separate teams marked their retirements in front of sell-out crowds.
Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 30 points during Dallas Mavericks’ win over the Phoenix Suns, before taking centre court to give his fans an emotional goodbye. Around 1,300 miles away in Miami, Dwyane Wade said his own farewell.
Nowitzki, 40, walked out into the court to speak to the home fans after the Mavericks’ 120-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
“Wow. I’m a little overwhelmed, as you would think. As you guys might expect, this is my last home game,” he said.
The seven-foot star, a 14-time All-Star and the sixth-highest scorer in NBA history with 31,540 points, thanked fans for their support during his 21 years at the club.
“This is obviously super, super emotional, there’s just too many people to really thank,” he said.
“I’ve put you guys on a helluva ride with a lot of ups and downs and you guys always stuck with me and supported me, and I appreciate it.”
Miami Heat’s Wade, 37, scored 30 points in a tribute-filled night as they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 122-99.
He was honoured at the American Airlines Arena with a series of speeches and videos including one from former US President Barak Obama.
“D Wade, congratulations on a great run. I know what you’re going through, saying goodbye to a career you love is never easy, I’ve been there. In my case though, I didn’t really have a choice, my knees were shot so I had to give up basketball forever,” Obama said in his tribute video.
Nowitzki will retire after the Mavericks’ game in San Antonio on Wednesday, while Wade will finish his playing career in Brooklyn on the same night.