It would be nice to see Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade on the court together one last time for a few minutes Wednesday night, but that legend vs. legend scenario is in jeopardy.
Dwyane Wade missed Miami’s shootaround at American Airlines Center with an illness and is listed as questionable for the game, which will be his last appearance in Dallas as he plans to retire after this season.
Wade and Nowitzki have a long history as competitors. Each has won a championship on the other’s home floor, Wade and the Heat winning at AAC in 2006 and Nowitzki and the Mavericks hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in Miami in 2011.
They have had a respectful rivalry, in spite of some antics in the 2011 finals when Wade and LeBron James mimicked Nowitzki’s flu-like symptoms by coughing and sniffling after a practice at AAC.
The two warriors have taken different approaches to this season. Wade has made it clear that this is a farewell tour, even designing a line of D. Wade World Tour apparel.
Nowitzki hasn’t even said whether this will be his last season or not and has no interest whatsoever in having any kind of farewell tour. He has, however, been toasted by opposing fans at every arena he’s played in this season as if this is his swan song.
Nowitzki and Wade are destined to be connected in history, especially if both end up retiring after this season.
They would enter the hall of fame together in 2024 if this is, indeed, their last season. They also were added as special members of this year’s All-Star Game Sunday in Charlotte.
“First ballot, yeah,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of the hall of fame futures of Wade and Nowitzki. “Both great competitors and we saw Nowitzki at his finest, on the biggest stage. To be able to produce and put a team on his back, forever respect.
We did the Africa game together and I went right up to him when I first saw him and told him that, but I think why there is such a global following for Dwyane and Dirk is because they transcend normal professional athletics. They’ve been able to compete at the highest level but do it with a dignity and a grace and a class that’s different than most, and it’s hard not to root for those guys. They’ve accomplished everything that you can accomplish in this game.”