Sports

Old Guard Hugs the New as Dončić and Nowitzki Celebrate the Mavs' Semifinal Sunday Success

Luka Dončić (left) and Dirk Nowitzki (right) exchange a few words and a hug after the Mavericks' shocker win on Sunday against the top-rated Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the NBA's Western Conference Semifinals in Phoenix.
Luka Dončić (left) and Dirk Nowitzki (right) exchange a few words and a hug after the Mavericks' shocker win on Sunday against the top-rated Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the NBA's Western Conference Semifinals in Phoenix. Screenshot from YouTube
Admit it: You still miss Dirk Nowitzki. Sure, the Dallas Mavericks are killing it with new team leaders like forward guard Luka Dončić — who's clearly on his way to be one the greats — but we still miss our old friends.

So even though we're ecstatic that the Mavs are just one conference win away from making it into the NBA Finals, there was a post-game exchange that made an already gratifying moment even sweeter and more special.

Sunday's game against the Phoenix Suns left a lot of jaws scraping the shiny floors of the Footprint Center, including some who were rooting for Dallas. The Mavs seemed to stumble out of the starting gate, giving up the first two games, but bounced back with two more before bringing the series all the way to a definitive seven game end with a blowout total of 123-90 last Sunday.
The local fans had to watch from home or on the American Airlines Center's huge scoreboard screen. The ones that could make it to the game were ecstatic and someone truly special was waiting to greet the game's MVP Dončić after the final whistle.

ESPN captured footage of Dončić making his way to the crowd to greet a wide-grinning Nowitzki, where the two exchanged some whispered words presumably of congratulations and encouragement and a nice, big hug. Awwww. I think I'm gonna cry and no, that's not sarcasm.

This, however, isn't the final, cryptic minutes of Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. What did Nowitzki whisper to the newest star of the Dallas Mavericks? According to ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin, Nowitzki told Dončić, "What did I tell you?" Nowitzki also shared the sentiment with several other members of the team last Sunday in Phoenix.

If this doesn't get you fired up for the finals, then nothing will. 
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.