Dirk Nowitzki, one of the greatest international players to ever step on an NBA hardwood floor, announced Tuesday night he would be retiring at the end of the season.
The 40-year-old sharpshooter made the announcement at the end of the Dallas Mavericks’ regular-season home finale against the Phoenix Suns. His final game will be against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
“I'm going to try to play a little bit tomorrow and still enjoy and hoist a few jumpers,” he said. “Tonight for me, of course, was the big night. One more time in front of these amazing fans that have supported me and pushed me over two decades.”
Nowitzki added that he was “super, super emotional” as he addressed the crowd, according to USA Today.
“This is obviously super, super emotional, there's just too many people to really thank,” he said. “I put you guys on a hell of a ride, with a lot of ups and downs, and you guys always stuck with me and supported me so I appreciate it.”
Nowitzki was visibly emotional on the court as well.
The German power forward played all of his 21 seasons with the Mavericks. He was named league MVP in 2007 and won one championship with the team, defeating the Miami Heat in 2011. He finishes with 14 All-Star Game appearances, averaging about 20 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists per game for his career.
In his final home game, he scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The Mavericks won the game 120-109.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.