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For Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, The Time To Leave The NBA Is At Hand

Great NBA Legends To Retire Dwyane Wade made the final home start of his NBA career on Tuesday night in Miami for the Heat and his last game will...

Great NBA Legends To Retire

Dwyane Wade made the final home start of his NBA career on Tuesday night in Miami for the Heat and his last game will be Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets. There will be no playoffs this season for the Heat and Wade, the standout guard who won three titles with the club will soon segue into civilian life.

Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, who had long said this would be his final season, also made his retirement official. He’ll exit the NBA as a former champion as well. Better still, he and Wade – five years hence – should be elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame at the same time.

They went out winners at home, as their teams and fans paid heartfelt tribute to these stars of such long duration.

Nowitzki, 40, scored 30 points in the Mavs’ 120-109 win over the Phoenix Suns. Wade, 37, dropped in 30 in a 122-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, even as the Heat were eliminated from postseason contention as the Detroit Pistons won.

Wade earned a championship with the Heat while playing with Shaquille O’Neal and then became part of the Big 3 with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. That group led the Heat to four straight NBA Finals appearances and two titles. James departed as a free agent for the Cleveland Cavaliers and then again for the Los Angeles Lakers; Bosh’s health problems cut his career short.

The Heat missed the playoffs two of the last three seasons, but Wade’s day in the sun was long (16 seasons). The Mavericks are absent from the postseason for a third straight season after being eliminated in the first round three consecutive times. But that title in 2011 (won by defeating the Heat) was memorable and Nowitzki was MVP of those finals. He has played 20 years, all for the Mavs.

Sadly, some of the impacts of these emotional finales were stolen by the sudden announcement by Magic Johnson that he would leave his position of president of basketball operations with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s tired of not having fun, he said, and also it would seem of six straight playoff misses. And probably a bit worn down by the Lonzo Ball-LeBron James headaches.

We tend not to miss front-office personnel so much. We do not see their actual work, just its results.

But we saw Wade’s and Nowitzki’s clutch plays at home one more time, and we honor their hard work and their titles. They gave what they had and we can only thank them for it.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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