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- After 20 years in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki is expected to retire at the end of the 2018-19 season.
- On Monday, Nowitzki was playing what is likely his final game at the Staples Center against the Los Angeles Clippers.
- In the final moments of the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers called a timeout so the crowd could give Nowitzki a standing ovation.
After 20 years in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki is set to retire at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Since his decision became public, Nowitzki has been on a farewell tour of sorts, with opposing teams and fans honoring him with chants and applause.
On Monday night, Clippers coach Doc Rivers went above and beyond to ensure that Dirk got his moment, calling a timeout in the game’s final seconds to bring the attention of the Staples Center to the Mavericks superstar.
With 9.4 seconds remaining and holding a 121-112 lead, Rivers called timeout, took a microphone from the announce table, and directed the fans’ attention to Dirk.
"Dirk!" Rivers said, prompting cheers from the crowd. Doc egged them on.
"Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!" he said. "One of the greatest of all time — Dirk Nowitzki."
After the game, Rivers said the timeout wasn’t planned out before the game.
"That was just, we had a lead and I had a timeout," Rivers said of the gesture. "Honestly, I didn’t plan it. I just felt like he deserved that.
Rivers added that he realized he missed an opportunity to give a similar sendoff to Dwyane Wade and didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.
"You know what’s funny, was it Miami? I thought we didn’t give Wade like it was a close game and I think they won the game and Wade played like he should play five more years — so I wasn’t going to let that happen again. I just did it."
Nowitzki said he was confused, but ultimately moved by the moment Rivers gave him.
"At first, I was like, ‘Why is Doc calling a timeout? What’s he doing with [9.4] seconds left? What’s he up to?’" Dirk said. "Then he grabbed the mic. I didn’t really understand much, but that was really humbling. That was an emotional moment."
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