Everything is on hold thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dallas Mavericks aren’t immune to its impact. Thanks to the outbreak, they’ve had to place plans for a monument honoring the team’s greatest player on hold for the time being.
The Mavericks are set to Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey at the start of next season. During the ceremony, taking place during the team’s second game, the hope was to also unveil the model a Nowitzki statue—no doubt in his signature one-legged jumper pose—that will eventually stand outside the American Airlines Center. Now, that might not happen.
“You know, this obviously slowed it down,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told me in a recent interview. “The hope was to have a model ready to show the second game of this coming season when we retire his jersey. We’ll have to see how everything plays out.”
Right now, whether a maquette will be ready to show off as Dirk’s No. 41 jersey rises into the rafters is the least of the team and NBA’s worries. Both are still trying to determine if the current season, placed on hiatus on March 11 after the Mavs defeated the Denver Nuggets, can or should continue.
Regardless of the delay, there will be a statue of Nowitzki outside of the AAC. It will just take a little more time to have it erected than initially planned. Dirk gave Mavericks fans 21 years; they can give him a few extra weeks or months.
As for Nowitzki himself, he’s enjoying the retired life and is doing well, all things considered.
“Dirk is going great,” Cuban says. “He’s eating too much ice cream. I haven’t talked to him in the last couple of days, but I’m sure he’s playing Mr. Dad with all the kids.”