Mavs' Nowitzki makes retirement official

Dirk Nowitzki was mum all season on his future plans but after a rousing performance in the Dallas Mavericks' home finale Tuesday, the star finally announced the decision everyone expected.

"Wow. I'm a little overwhelmed, as you would think," Nowitzki told the sellout crowd after the Mavericks' 120-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns. "As you guys might expect, this is my last home game."

Nowitzki made his much-anticipated retirement announcement after delivering a season-high 30-point performance, with five 3-pointers, against the Suns. The 7-footer scored 10 points in the opening seven minutes and had 19 points on a season-high 18 shot attempts in the first half.

The 14-time All-Star and sixth-leading scorer in NBA history (31,540 points) finished the game with eight rebounds, three assists and a block in a season-high 33 minutes.

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Dirk Nowitzki's final game in Dallas
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Dirk Nowitzki's final game in Dallas
DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 09: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks stands in front of Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf after his last home game at American Airlines Center on April 09, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 09: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks hugs Larry Bird after his last home game at American Airlines Center on April 09, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 9: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks addresses the fans after the game against the Phoenix Suns on April 9, 2019 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 09: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after announcing that he played his last home game at American Airlines Center on April 09, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 09: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after announcing that he played his last home game at American Airlines Center on April 09, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 09: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks hugs Mark Cuban after announcing that he played his last home game at American Airlines Center on April 09, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 9: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks prepares to run onto the court before the game against the Phoenix Suns on April 9, 2019 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 9: Fans hold up signs supporting Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks for MVP during the game against the Phoenix Suns on April 9, 2019 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 9: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks runs onto court high-fiving teammates before the game against the Phoenix Suns on April 9, 2019 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 09: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks walks off the court during the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center on April 09, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 9: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks runs onto court high-fiving teammates before the game against the Phoenix Suns on April 9, 2019 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The 40-year-old Nowitzki, whose playing career will officially end Wednesday night when the Mavs play the San Antonio Spurs, was honored by the appearance of five of his childhood heroes -- Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Shawn Kemp and fellow German Detlef Schrempf -- for a postgame ceremony that included heartfelt speeches by Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and owner Mark Cuban.

"Amazing that my heroes came out here for this game," Nowitzki said. "Thank you guys so much. Love you guys. Grew up watching you and idolizing you guys so this means more than you will ever know.

"Mark, can't wait to see what you've got for my jersey retirement. I mean, this is a high bar that you set. But as you guys might expect, this is my last home game."

Nowitzki's final season didn't actually begin until mid-December thanks to a longer-than-expected recovery from ankle surgery. From there, he mostly came off the bench for the first time in his career and averaged 6.6 points in fewer than 15 minutes a game.

But on this special night, Nowitzki turned back the clock, and so did the crowd as it chanted M-V-P! M-V-P! Nowitzki won the league's regular-season MVP award in 2007 and earned NBA Finals MVP in 2011, when he delivered Dallas its lone championship.

--Field Level Media

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