DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks superstar was unlike any other seen on the basketball court and outside of it. Dirk Nowitzki was somewhat an unknown product out of Germany, and the Mavs had a hunch on his potential.
NBA executives are quick to relegate seven-footers to back-to-the-basket roles, but Nowitzki was the opposite. He made his mark by facing the basket with the patented one-foot fadeaway.
"Who is this tall lanky blonde-haired dude from Germany?" die-hard Dirk fan Bobby Koshy recalled thinking back in 1998.
The 7-foot foreign product once a mystery had quickly showed mastery.
Nowitzki would spend all 21 seasons with the Mavs and win an NBA championship in 2011. In his illustrious NBA career, he scored 31,560 points -- good for sixth all time.
On Wednesday night, Nowitzki's #41 jersey was retired at the American Airlines Center and that number will never be worn again.
"I'm remembering things I wish everybody could have seen," said longtime Mavs photographer Steve Chavera, who calls Nowitzki "dirty." The nickname originated from former Mavs guard Nick Van Exel.
Chavera was the former Mavs social media director and photographer for many years. He recalls many great moments with Nowitzki; the good and bad. One of his most treasured keepsakes is his 2011 NBA ring that he got being with the organization.
"He is without a doubt as humble as they come," said Chavera.
Chavera witnessed his greatness through a lens. Hundreds, thousands, millions of people witnessed his patented one-foot fade-way jumper that was nearly un-guardable.
"I know Dallas is a football city, but he brings the Mavericks really close to that," said Chavera.
The man who created many moments over 21 seasons; visited children in hospitals, returned letters, autographed for hours, had his own moment Wednesday.
"People came up to me and thanked me for my services...that's special, really special," an emotional Nowitzki said.
"Dallas loves him just as much as he loves Dallas, if not more," said die-hard fan Tiffany Johnson.