It doesn’t get much classier than that.
With nine seconds left in the Dallas Mavericks’ loss to the LA Clippers Monday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Clippers coach Doc Rivers called a timeout.
Typically, with a team up by nine with 9.4 seconds remaining, that would get a groan from just about everyone.
But not this time. Rivers went to the scorers table and grabbed the public address microphone to extol the greatness of Dirk Nowitzki and urged the Clippers crowd to salute the 40-year-old legend. They did and the moment was magical. Nowitzki waved in appreciation to the crowd and to Rivers as Clippers players cheered along.
Monday’s game was the 1,500th of Nowitzki’s career, which moves him into fourth all-time beind Robert Parish (1,611), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) and John Stockton (1,504). Nowitzki can move past Stockton into third all-time March 8 at Orlando. Nowitzki, who has said he’ll decide whether he’ll retire when the season is over. He turns 41 in June and is in his 20th season with the Mavs. Monday’s game could be Nowitzki’s last in Los Angeles. The Mavs have no more games against the Lakers.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thanked Rivers for the classy move on Twitter.
Nowitzki finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Luka Doncic finished with his fourth triple-double, tying Jason Kidd’s Mavs’ rookie record in 1994-95. The last Dallas player to have four triple-doubles in a season was Michael Finley in 2000.
Doncic, who had 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, turns 20 on Thursday.