With every passing year, more and more of the NBA legends I grew up watching are leaving the game. From Tim Duncan to Kobe, from Manu to Kevin Garnett, to many other stars. This generation is drawing to a close, and with Miami and Dallas failing to make the playoffs this year, the careers of two more NBA legends have come to an end.

Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade.

The first NBA Finals I can remember watching was between these two greats. The 2006 NBA Finals where Wade’s Miami Heat defeated Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks 4-2. I remember hating Dirk and the Mavericks at the time because of the way he beat the San Antonio Spurs in the previous round.

That being said, ever since Dirk led the Mavs to their first title in franchise history in 2011 (against none other than the super-villain Miami “Heatles” led by Wade and LeBron), I’ve realized just how much I love the guy. The “hate” was actually respect more than anything. Dirk is a lovable guy and is all class, much like Timmy and the Spurs. So as much as I hated playing them, it was out of respect.

The Spurs and Mavericks rivalry was epic. Dirk was so good and the Mavericks were too. Every time the Texas teams faced off, it was an incredible atmosphere. I remember playing imaginary games against Dirk and the Mavs in my driveway. So when he officially announced his retirement after his final home game, I was a bit emotional.

It was fitting that Dirk’s final game ever was played at San Antonio the following night. The crowd was rooting for him the whole night. Even though he was scoring against the Spurs, fans erupted in applause and cheers for Dirk.

Now that’s respect.

Even after the tribute video prior to the game, try not to cry while watching this:

As for Wade….

He was one of my favorites to watch play. If you wanted electric plays, Wade had them. He was also incredibly clutch and just an overall likable star. Although I will admit that I kind of hated him during the “Heatles” years; especially when the Spurs were battling them during the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals.

But when it was his turn to say goodbye, none of that mattered. All I saw was a man who gave fans an incredible career that we will never forget:

I am so happy my professor Gary Kayye showed this following video to us in class. This gives you a taste of just how much he meant to his fans:

Thank you Wade and Dirk for all the memories.

This also serves as a reminder to enjoy other players that I consider of this generation, like LeBron, Chris Paul, Vince Carter and Tony Parker….The fact that I can only think of those means that this generation is truly coming to an end (yes I know it’s crazy that LeBron is a part of the list, but even he’s creeping up in age.) I’m gonna enjoy every moment they have left on the hardwood and you should too.



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