Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki officially play their last home game
NBA Legends Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki played their last home games for the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks respectively on 9th April 2019. Both of them scored 30 points in their swansong on home court and played pivotal roles in guiding their teams to victory.
With qualification for the playoffs on the line, Wade and the Heat gave it everything they had and soundly defeated a lackluster Philadelphia 76ers 122-99. The 76ers were missing 2 of their key players, Joel Embiid and JJ Redick. Wade led all scorers with a stat line of 30 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. However, at the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Heat were officially out of playoff contention when the Detroit Pistons defeated the Memphis Grizzlies. Nevertheless, the Heat fans were treated with an amazing performance by their beloved Dwyane Wade, who will end his career as Miami's all time scoring leader and assists leader after 16 seasons.
Unlike Wade, Nowitzki had not announced prior to the season that he would be retiring. He decided to announce his decision after the game via a heartfelt speech to the crowd at the American Airlines Center. Nowtizki and the Mavericks defeated the Phonix Suns 120-109 despite an age defying performance by veteran Jamal Crawford, whose 51 point performance pushed him past Michael Jordan as the oldest player to score 50 points in a game.
Nowitzki also turned back the clock, scoring a team high 30 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Nowitzki will retire as the Mavericks' leader in almost all stastical categories. He also holds the record for most seasons (21) played with one team.
The beginning of the next season will mark the end of an era with both Wade and Nowitzki not in action. Wade will retire as arguably the 3rd greatest shooting guard ever, a 3 time NBA champion and an Olympic champion. He has had an immeasurable influence on people, as shown in a video made by Budweiser. Nowitzki, an NBA champion himself, will go down as the greatest European NBA player ever, reaching a mind-boggling 6th on the all time NBA scoring list! He too has worked tirelessly to improve the community in Dallas.
When it's all said and done, I believe that the legacies of both players stretch far beyond their innumerable achievements on the court. They both were great human beings, and will sorely be missed in the sporting community.