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Don Nelson calls Dirk Nowitzki his ‘German son’

Don Nelson Dirk Nowitzki Mavs

Following a 30-point performance in a win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki took to center court to announce to the fans that he would be retiring from the NBA after this season, making something that most of us assumed official.

Afterward, former Mavericks head coach Don Nelson told current Dallas coach Rick Carlisle to deliver a special message to Nowitzki:

Nelson coached Nowitzki for six-and-a-half seasons, starting with Dirk’s rookie year during the 1998-99 campaign and ending when Nelson stepped down as Mavericks coach midway through the 2004-05 season.

During Nelson’s reign at the helm, Dallas went to the playoffs four times, making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals in 2003 before falling to the San Antonio Spurs.

Nelson played a big role in developing Nowitzki, who went on to become one of the greatest power forwards and greatest scorers to ever play the game.

Overall, Nowitzki played 21 seasons in the NBA. He made 11 straight All-Star appearances between 2002 and 2012 and was named an All-Star 14 times overall, including this past February when commissioner Adam Silver made Nowitzki a special addition to the All-Star Game.

The 40-year-old also won an MVP award in 2007, and, most importantly, he won an NBA championship in 2011, leading the Mavericks to a six-game victory over the Miami Heat en route to Finals MVP honors after putting forth one of the most impressive and memorable finals performances in the history of the league.

Nowitzki owns career averages of 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, and one day, he will join Nelson in the Hall of Fame.