When Dirk Nowitzki retired at the end of last season, there was no question whether his jersey number would one day hand in the rafters of the American Airlines Center. The only question surrounding the matter was when that would happen. Now, there might be a timetable.
The Dallas Mavericks could retire Nowitzki’s No. 41 jersey as soon as this season, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com. Mavs owner Mark Cuban is currently working out the details of when they could hold the ceremony. Based on the timing, it may have to wait until next season.
“The challenge is just getting it all done just because it’s not a lot of home games left,” Cuban told Price. “It’s only like (19) home games left, so that’s the hard part.
“So we’re discussing it now whether it’ll be now or one of the first couple of games next year.”
Nowitzki leads the Mavericks in virtually every statistical category after spending his entire 21-year career with the organization. He led the team to two NBA Finals appearances and was the catalyst in winning the Mavericks’ only championship in 2011. During his career, he was named an All-Star 14 times and is the sixth all-time scorer in NBA history.
The last number that the Mavericks retired was a long time in the making. Former Mavericks guard Derek Harper had his No. 12 jersey retired in 2018. Harper played 11 seasons with the Mavs and last suited up for Dallas during the 1996-1997 season. He retired from the NBA in 1999.
Harper was only the third player to have his jersey retired by the organization. Rolando Blackman’s No. 22 and Brad Davis’ No. 15 hang alongside their former teammate at the top of the AAC.
Nowitzki’s jersey retirement ceremony may also include another honor as well. Cuban wants to present a maquette of the statue of Nowitzki that will go outside the arena.
“We’re also talking about hopefully being able to unveil a model for the statue at the beginning of next year as well,” Cuban said. “So hopefully we can put the two together.
“Nothing is etched in stone yet, but we’re looking at it.”