LeBron James posted a picture on his Instagram story of the great Dirk Nowitzki and his family looking up at his jersey being lifted to the rafters as the Dallas Mavericks decided to retire the jersey of arguably their greatest ever player.
Nowitzki's incredible 21-year career in the NBA while playing for the Mavericks was a real-life fairytale that reached its peak when they won the championship in 2011 beating a LeBron James-led Miami Heat. Nowitzki retired from the NBA at the end of the 2018-19 season as he dropped a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds in his final game.
Recapping LeBron James-Dirk Nowitzki rivalry in 2011
One of the most iconic NBA Finals series of recent years was the 2011 NBA Finals, which involved the Dirk Nowitzki-led Dallas Mavericks and the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. The Heat were heavy favorites coming into this matchup against the Mavericks as they possessed the likes of King James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The series started off with the Miami Heat winning Game 1 thanks to the exploits of LeBron, who had 24 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists on a little over 56% shooting from the field. Dirk led all the scorers with 27 points but couldn't come away with a win as the Heat had first blood.
Game 2 finished in favor of the Mavericks, with Nowitzki leading the team with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while the Heat lost by one possession despite Wade pouring in 36 points.
In Game 3, Dirk had 34 points on better than 52% shooting from the floor, but ended up on the losing side, as the Heat won 88-86 thanks to a 29 points and 11 rebounds performance from Dwyane Wade.
Game 4 saw LeBron James have a shocker as he put up only 8 points while the teams continued to follow the pattern of the series. With both teams having won one home game and one game on the road, the series was tied 2-2 going into Game 5.
Game 5 and Game 6 saw the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki in particular take the series by scruff of the neck and assert their dominance. Dirk had 29 points in Game 5 on 50% shooting from the field while Game 6 saw him drop 21 points to close out the series and win the NBA championship.
It was unarguably the biggest disappointment of King James' career as he came up short big time in the Finals. On the contrary, it was the biggest highlight of Dirk Nowitzki's career as he led the franchise to their first and only championship.
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