Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki confirmed his retirement from the NBA on Tuesday, drawing curtains on a 21-season career that saw him become the greatest European player ever in the league’s history.
The 40-year-old was considering extending his career by another season but decided to announce his his retirement after the Mavericks’ 120-109 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
“As you guys might expect, this is my last home game,” Nowitzki said at the Dallas’s American Airlines Center.
“I’ve 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, and I appreciate it,” he added.
Many NBA icons were in the arena as the German bid adieu, including Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and the Mavs’ former German power forward Detlef Schrempf.
Nowitzki ranks sixth on NBA’s all-time points scoring list with more than 31,000. He said he has no plans to leave Dallas post retirement.
“This is my new home,” Nowitzki said. “I left Germany over 20 years ago and became a Texan.”
Nowitzki was chosen as ninth pick in the 1998 NBA draft and went on to lead the Mavericks to 15 playoff appearances.
He powered the the team to their only NBA championship in 2011.
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 127-101 on the road but were dealt a blow when LeBron James left the court injured in the third quarter.
With 7.51 seconds remaining on the clock, the All-Star forward sustained a groin strain, finishing the Christmas game with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
Steph Curry hit back-to-back three-pointers and the Warriors got to within two points before the end of third, but the Lakers maintained control, completing the victory thanks to 19 points from Kyle Kuzma and 18 from Ivica Zubac.
James was injured halfway through the third quarter when he reached for a loose ball. He grabbed his left groin before heading to the sidelines. He moved cautiously when he left the court and headed to the locker room.
“Hopefully it is not a long thing I can get back on the floor as soon as possible,” said James.
Lakers coach Luke Walton said team doctors would examine James later.
“He will get an MRI tomorrow and we will have a better understanding of what he has got going on,” Walton said.
The Boston Celtics gained revenge for their embarrassing loss to the New York Knicks late last month with a straightforward 128-100 win over them on Thursday.
Jaylen Brown returned from injury to score a season-high 21 points and point-guard Kyrie Irving added 22 as the Celtics eased to their fourth straight victory.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points for the ailing Knicks, who struggled without the injured Trey Burke, who had dominated in the win last month when he scored 29 points.
The Portland Trail Blazers piled more woe on the Phoenix Suns, winning 108-86.
Despite missing CJ McCollum due to an ankle injury, Portland surged into a 27-point first-quarter lead and there was never any doubt they would snap their three-game losing streak.
Damian Lillard top-scored on 25 points and Jake Layman managed a career-high 24 in an easy win over their opponents, who have now lost their last seven games.
The Houston Rockets were left equally embarrassed after they fell to a comprehensive 118-91 defeat to the Utah Jazz.
Derrick Favors finished with 24 points from just 10 minutes of action while Joe Ingles scored 18 as the Jazz cruised home in Salt Lake City.