On the road for the final game of his National Basketball Association career, Dirk had difficulty containing his emotions as the San Antonio Spurs - one of his fiercest rivals during his 21-year National Basketball Association career - ran a touching highlight tribute video to the German power forward before the game tipped-off.
Spurs fans showed plenty of love to the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer, and he said it "felt nearly like a home game". "I put you guys on a helluva ride with a lot of ups and downs, and you guys always stuck with me and supported me, so I appreciate it".
He also had one last opportunity to show off his trademark step-back jumper in the game's final seconds.
He will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game and one of the most entertaining players to ever watch.
The German power forward played all 21 seasons with the Mavericks.
The smooth-shooting 7-footer changed the game when the Mavericks traded for the 20-year-old, taken ninth overall in the 1998 draft.
Nowitzki went on to thank owner Mark Cuban and the entire Mavericks staff, not only for this season but for the last 21 years. Nowitzki eclipsed 10,000 defensive rebounds late this season - and fans who went wild almost every time he hit a shot even cheered those moments. He made many unpublicized trips to the hospital over the years.