Last night’s All-Star Game in Charlotte was very emotional. Nothing to do with the result or anything, but because two great players, legends of this sport, danced for one last time in this event.
Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade said goodbye to the All-Star matches. Two of the most notable players in the last two decades are retiring at the end of the season. Even though Dirk didn’t confirm that it is something that the majority of the fans expect.
The reporters were curious about that, and they wanted a little bit more clues about that after the match.
Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki share a moment before checking in off the bench together. pic.twitter.com/8S2ZqpL39J
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) February 14, 2019
“Nothing that happened today changed my mind, if you’re asking that,” Dirkenstein said. “I want to see how the rest of the season obviously goes. We’re going to make that decision later.”
It seems that Nowitzki himself has problems to make the final decision and to step back, although he is way past his peak. His physical condition is vulnerable, and Rick Carlisle is restricting his minutes this season.
But the stubbornness of one of the best frontcourt players ever is not allowing him to back down.
On the other side, Wade made peace with his retirement. Flash made a tough decision, and he is going to stick with it.
He explained after the game how he feels, saying that it isn’t easy for him to walk away from everything, but the age and health condition are simply making things very difficult.
“Missing this game? Missing playing in front of 20,000? Missing this stage? You know you’re going to miss that,” Wade said between the third and the fourth quarter when he and Nowitzki were the central figures of a ceremony which honored their respective careers and accomplishments.
For the Flash, the moment for farewell has come, and he will leave all behind, proudly, with no regrets.
“Right now, I want to walk away with my health, I want to walk away with my head held high, and I’ll be able to do that after this season.”
Both players were given their own, framed, All-Star jerseys, as a gift and a small sign of gratitude for all the things they’ve done for the game and the league itself.
This All-Star game was really about them two, and honoring their accomplishments.
Nowitzki showed his long range one more time. He still has it, despite the years, injuries and all other issues, In four minutes on the floor, the big fella who spent his entire career with the Dallas Mavericks, made three consecutive hits from deep. It was one of the rare moments when pale and sleepy fans in Charlotte reacted and made some noise.
“That was obviously awesome,” Nowitzki said. “I wanted just to play a few minutes and hoist up a three, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Wade has paired with LeBron once again. The duo which led the Heat to two NBA titles, along with Chris Bosh, had its swan song at Spectrum Center. They even posted two alley-oops. One from LBJ to Wade, and the second, a replica of the iconic play made against the Bucks, when Flash assisted James off the board for a powerfull slam.
It was all about memories this Sunday. In the end, they both left the court satisfied.
I got honored in between the third and fourth quarter, that was emotional, so it was a great weekend for me and I’m ready to go home,” Nowitzki said.
Wade added that the “game is in good hands.”
“It’s easy to walk away right now,” he added.
We are pretty sure that it isn’t easy for these two guys, no matter what they say. And we are also 100% positive that there isn’t a single true basketball fan who will accept their retirement without being just a little bit sad.
These guys marked one part of our life; they brought something which hadn’t seen before and changed the course of the game. Whether we love or hate them, one thing is sure. Basketball will be poorer without them on the court. It’s not about the stats or rings, or anything like it.
It’s about the game.
So watch them carefully until the end of the season. Remember their every move. Wade’s spins, and Dirk’s fadeaways.
Because there won’t be much of those anymore.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.