Dirk Nowitzki will go down as one of the greatest European players to play the game. He ranks among the iconic cagers the world has seen, a reason why he is part of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

Regarded as one of the greatest power forwards of all time, Nowitzki retired after the 2018-19 season. He ended his NBA career on a high note, finishing with a double-double performance of 20 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

And while it appears Nowitzki ended his NBA career on a high note, the German appeared on a podcast with Toni Kroos suggesting he should have retired earlier. While most will probably disagree, the 2007 NBA Most Valuable Player shares an emotional reason as to why.

Nowitzki's injury history is well-documented and retiring two years earlier could have made a difference. The reason behind this is that the German says he cannot play sports with his children due to limited movement he now has to deal with owing to years of playing pro ball.

The 14-time All-Star admits that there were highlights in those last two years. However, the fact that the team did not perform well in that span and that he could not move anymore was something he stressed.

There is no telling if that would have changed had Nowitzki retired two years earlier. But mobility for him to be able to play in sports like soccer is something that he cannot do at all right now.

For now, all this is academic and Nowitzki will just have to live with the decision. It is gut-wrenching and a scenario that other NBA players have also gone through.

For what it’s worth, Nowitzki did lead the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA championship and has a long list of accolades. His family and fans will always hail him as one of the greatest players to play the game and is an inspiration for his sacrifices.

Former Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki
Former Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki Getty Images | Tom Pennington

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