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Roundtable: Our favorite part of Dirk Nowitzki getting enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame

What a weekend for the Dallas Mavericks legend

2023 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

This last weekend Dirk Nowitzki completed his long post-retirement journey, where he was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. I asked the staff what their favorite part of the weekend was.

Matt: The Mavs/Spurs rivalry was and is very real, but watching Coach Pop go in as only he can - just enough gruffness to live up to his reputation (shushing people in the crowd and hitting the broadcast with an “I’m not done” as the music started to play), but also some really heart-warming moments like Becky Hammon’s speech. Pop, waiting to enter the hall until after his Big Three of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker went in before him was a touching storyline, and although Pop is still around (and maybe around for a while long now that he’s got Victor Wembenyama to tinker with), that group going into the Hall is definitely era-defining. He’s one of the most respected people in the game, and even Dirk himself as excited as a little kid when he saw Pop in attendance.

Brian: Dirk’s speech! It was humble yet funny in the right spots. One thing Dirk said did stand out when speaking about Rick Carlisle, where Luka Dončić is and could grow as a basketball player. The lesson was, ‘Nothing really works without great preparation.’

Jack: It was honestly a treat to watch everyone’s speech. Tony Parker had a wonderfully funny and heart-warming piece and i was really impressed with his public speaking. Gary Blair kept it short and sweet and advocated for female athletes. Pau Gasol showed why he’s one of the all-time great guys, Greg Popovich was Greg Popovich, and Becky Hammon spoke from the heart. and topping it all off was Dirk’s immaculate speech, a rich blend of genuine thankfulness and his trademark dry wit. His decision to structure the speech around values he learned from loved ones in his life was brilliant. I laughed, I cried, I cheered. It was perfect, just like Dirk.

Brent: A timely bit of pushback in an age where self-awareness and decorum in public venues is no longer an assured expectation. When the Dallas fan let herself get over the top boisterous and yelled from the balcony, Dirk quipped “Yes I can hear you...everyone can hear you”.

Ben: Honestly, I thought I would have a lot to say about Dirk entering the Hall of fame. But I don’t. I’ve talked about him and written about him for more than two decades now, so I’m spent. Mostly I’m glad his basketball story ended the way it did, and it seems like he is truly happy. He deserves that for all the joy he brought to Mavericks and basketball fans. I’m sure he’ll be around from time to time, but this feels like the conclusion of his public life, and I’m sad to see it end, even if it’s exactly how I wanted it to go.

Jordan: There was something about seeing Dirk honored among a few of the greats from his era. That in itself wasn’t unique. Often a generation of stars all go into the hall together. Though Dirk’s direct connection to Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, and Dwyane Wade felt even more one of a kind. But as the league has evolved into a team-hopping challenge, to see Dirk and Parker, and Wade all recognized felt especially of another time. Even if that time wasn’t so long ago. We are all partial here, but it is no surprise that Nowitzki’s speech was so exactly Dirk. And while he was never someone spending his offseason recruiting other players, his time on stage confirmed why he has always been such a player favorite and has gained so much respect across the league. Outside of his speech, I’ve really enjoyed seeing the videos of Dirk watching his old highlights. He is always so entertaining reminiscing and enjoying old plays. But it was also a nice reminder, especially to those who really only caught his post-championship years, what an athletic vicious killer he was on the floor.

Kirk: I really loved seeing how joyful everyone was. I described it on Josh and I’s show as one of those get-togethers you do with your friends and as you prepare to go, you look for an excuse because it’s far away and not the easiest place to get to... only once you get there, it’s outstanding.

Other than that, I loved seeing Dirk’s family during the ceremony. His mom and dad, his sister and her family, and his wife and kids, the latter of which were not into the whole situation.