Dirk Nowitzki’s retirement: Who we are is more important than what we do

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    Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks retired from the NBA Wednesday night.

    I don’t normally write on Dallas-centric sports news, recognizing that we have more than 170,000 Daily Article readers in 203 countries and most of them probably care less about my local sports teams than I do.

    But Dirk’s story transcends Dallas and the NBA.

    In fact, it makes a point worth considering for everyone who follows Jesus.

    Praise for “Uncle Dirk”

    Nowitzki was undoubtedly one of the greatest players in NBA history: a league champion and Finals MVP, league MVP, fourteen-time all-star, and the sixth-leading scorer of all time. He played twenty-one years with the same franchise, which is a record as well.

    The San Antonio Spurs, the team he played in his last NBA game, showed a video tribute in his honor. A rival coach stopped the game in Los Angeles and called on fans to pay homage to him.

    But the adulation he has received in Dallas and across basketball is about much more than what he did on the court.

    While Dirk’s salary was lucrative, he took pay cuts so his team could try to sign other players. He cared about the locker room attendants wherever the Mavericks played. His many unpublicized hospital trips to visit children (who called him “Uncle Dirk”) were just part of his commitment to his community.

    The Washington Post celebrated his loyalty to his team and city. A writer in Washington, DC, praised him for his humility. At his retirement ceremony in Dallas, Charles Barkley called him “the nicest man ever.”

    It was Dirk Nowitzki’s humility and service off the court, even more than his athletic achievements on it, that endeared him to sports fans across the country.

    As he reminds us, who we are is more important than what we do.

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