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San Antonio Spurs move Dirk Nowitzki to tears with emotional tribute

For the last time ever, Dirk was announced in the starting lineup. His longtime rivals get it.

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

If Dirk Nowitzki had to end his storied NBA career on the road, there’s no team I’d rather face than the San Antonio Spurs.

Of course the Spurs are on a different level than the Mavs this year. They’re playoffs bound and the Mavs are just playing for their guy. But over the years, I like to think these rival organizations have developed a deep respect for one another as they’ve done battle all these years. Dirk versus Tim Duncan. Rick Carlisle versus Gregg Popovich. Endless playoffs battles and exciting finishes when both teams were in their prime.

It was no surprise, then, that the Spurs had the perfect tribute to Dirk ready to go. As the in-arena announcer began calling out the Mavericks starting lineup, they left Dirk for last. And the arena went dark. And then, they played this:

I mean, this video couldn’t have been any better if the Mavericks put it together themselves. I thought I was emotional as I watched, but then, the camera cut to Dirk.

I can’t imagine the emotions that must have been running through the Tall Baller from the G as one of his most storied rivals paid him the ultimate respect right before he took the court for the very last time in his career.

Thank you Dirk, indeed. And thank you, Spurs, for making it a moment to remember.