Dallas Mavericks forward and future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki, who is a ripe 40 years old, may not be calling it a career just yet.
This season, he has been receiving standing ovations across the league. Fans are recognizing it may be the last time the legendary Mav plays in their city.
He, along with Dwayne Wade, were added to this year’s All-Star Game as special additions. Wade has confirmed this season will be his last. Nowitzki has not.
In a win against Indiana, Nowitzki put up 11 points, five rebounds and four assists in limited minutes. Afterwards, he said that his decision for next season is largely based on his health.
“I would love to be there for the young guys one more year,” Nowitzki said to the Dallas News. “But I think it depends on how the body feels. I’ve had issues obviously this year.”
Nowitzki has missed 26 games this season with a foot injury, and is currently seeing an average of 12.6 minutes per night.
“I had some knee swelling here the last few weeks, actually before the All-Star break, so it’s not all great. But like I said I am feeling better. I am feeling stronger. But I think I’m going to make that decision later on,” Nowitzki added.
In comments to ESPN, Nowitzki said that the Mavericks’ young core of Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic will be a great combo if they “stay healthy and together.”
While it would be beneficial for Dallas’ locker room to have Nowitzki’s presence next year, nobody can play basketball forever.
If health is a concern, Nowitzki shouldn’t force himself to play basketball. Perhaps the big man, who has spent his entire career in Dallas, can take on an assistant coaching position with the Mavs.
Whenever he does decide to retire, Dirk Nowitzki will be remembered as an NBA champion, and one of the best players of the 2000’s era.