Dirk and D-Wade’s Last Dance
In 2006, Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat beat Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks 4-2 in the NBA Finals. In 2011, it was Dirk’s Mavs who beat Dwyane’s Heat in another six-game series. Two champions, two Hall of Famers, two legends.
D-Wade and Dirk met for the final time last night in Dallas’ American Airlines Center. Miami won the game (112-101). Wade scored 22 points, Dirk added 12, and the duo swapped jerseys after one last dance.
For two of the NBA’s most iconic players of the last two decades, the final goodbye between them is a reminder that time catches up to all of us. It's only fitting to relive their NBA journeys once more.
Wade grew up in a rough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. He was just an infant when his father left his mother. She became addicted to heroin soon after, and police raided their home when he was six years old.
When Wade moved in with his father at age 9, the discipline and guidance he received turned him into the man he is today. After taking Marquette to the Final Four in 2003, Wade was drafted No. 5 overall by the Miami Heat. He’s a 13-time NBA All-Star, three-time NBA Finals champion, and the 2006 Finals MVP.
Nowitzki grew up in West Germany where he played handball and tennis until finding basketball at age 13. After dominating European leagues until age 20, he was taken by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 9 pick in 1998 before getting traded to the Mavericks for Robert Traylor on draft night.
The bigger story with Nowitzki is his loyalty to the Dallas Mavericks and his impact on the game's global reach. He might be the first big man in NBA history to establish a deadly outside shot, a requirement in today’s league. Over the course of 20 NBA seasons, Nowitzki has sacrificed nearly $80 million to help the team build and reshape the roster. Now 40 years old, Dirk will retire as one of the NBA’s most accomplished European superstars. He's a 14-time NBA All-Star, the 2007 league MVP, and he delivered Dallas its only championship in 2011.
The Last Last Dance
Neither player was selected to this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game, but the league did something it’s never done before when commissioner Adam Silver named Wade and Nowitzki special roster additions. Wednesday night in Dallas may have been their last dance, but Sunday night in Charlotte will produce one more lasting moment.