MEMPHIS, Tenn. — They cried out his name.
Boys and girls, men and women. All trying to get Dirk Nowitzki’s attention as he walked off the FedEx Forum Arena floor after Sunday’s shoot around before the Dallas Mavericks played the Memphis Grizzlies.
Nowitzki, who is likely to retire after the season, was preparing his 40-year-old legs for what could be the third to final game of his legendary, Hall of Fame career. He spent time at all of his usual 3-point spots, both corners and the top of the key, sinking shot after shot. Hundreds of fans, mostly wearing Mavs attire — and specifically Nowitzki’s No. 41 jersey — watched closely and snapped pictures.
But the real workout for Nowitzki this season has been the autographs and pictures he obliges for fans wherever the Mavs are playing. On Sunday in Memphis, it was toddlers, propped up in front of Nowitzki for a photo, to adults waving No. 41 jerseys for an autograph. As he has done all season (and for his whole career, for that matter), Nowitzki accommodated as many fans as he could. He signed anything and everything for all ages, moving down the line like he was taking balls off the rack in a 3-point shooting contest.
They kept calling his name. He kept signing. It went on for almost 10 minutes before he made his way back up the tunnel into the Mavs locker room.
The Mavericks play their home finale on Tuesday against the Suns at American Airlines Center. It’ll probably be Nowitzki’s last game in Dallas. And there will be more autographs, more pictures and a lot of tears.