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Pop Culture

Dallas In Pop Culture: How the Internet Celebrated Dirk Nowitzki’s Jersey Retirement

From the Golden State Warriors to foil-covered to go plates and tribute videos, here's how the rest of the world commemorated Dirk Nowitzki's legacy as a sports (and pop culture) icon.
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Dallas Mavericks 2011 NBA championship

Like the great Boyz II Men sang on 1991’s Cooleyhighharmony, it’s so hard to say goodbye to retired Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki. Although the Dallas legend’s last season was in 2019 (despite a semi-earnest plea from Jason Kidd to bring him back on a 10-day contract), Wednesday night’s jersey retirement ceremony solidified the end of an iconic era in Dallas. All we have to do to remember is look up in the rafters at the American Airlines Center.

For those born and raised here, Nowitzki represents a great deal to our city. I would list how much he means to me and Dallas, but senior editor Zac Crain already did that in his book. Nevertheless, Nowitzki embodied Dallas: in a city where folks from out of town don’t always understand its curb appeal or value, he arrived with his massive arms to embrace all the quirks about our quasi-metropolitan-with-a-hint-of-country city. And he has made it his home after his career.

As we say goodbye to 41, let’s remember Nowitzki’s cultural impact through the words of others.

“We might be the Splash Bros but you’re a Splash God for what you’ve done for the game.” (Klay Thompson, 2021).

The ‘We Got Food at the House’ Legend

Throughout the decades of on-camera coverage, I would argue that there is no greater series of off-court moments than Nowitzki’s clear appreciation of leftovers. Dirk frequently walked into the American Airlines Center with a plate of home-cooked food presumably courtesy his wife, Jessica Olsson.

To this day, I remember the uproar on Black Twitter as the cameras captured the button-downed gentlemen with a foil-covered to-go plate in hand. For those not apart of the elusive Black Twitter, a foil covered to-go plate is a sign of endearment from your mother, older sister, auntie, or female elder. The to-go plate is commonly seen at home goings, repasses, funerals, and family reunions. Over the years, Nowitzki’s foil plates have evolved into a popular meme.

An Icon Living

Name another player who held his own against Michael Jordan? Lebron James? Kobe Bryant? I’ll wait.

Name another player who was loyal to one team for 21 seasons? That’s right: just Dirk Nowitzki. In a sports era where players jump from city to city to create superstar teams (#shade), Nowitzki stayed in Dallas through all our ups and downs. You know what we call that, kids? Loyalty.


Taylor Crumpton

Taylor Crumpton

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Taylor Crumpton is the former online arts editor for FrontRow, D Magazine’s arts and entertainment blog. She is a proud…

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