National Basketball Association icon Dirk Nowitzki announces retirement after 21-year career with Dallas

Nowitzki, 40, finished with a season-high 30 points on 11-of-31 shooting in the 120-109 win over the Phoenix Suns - but he wasn't the only vet doing work at the American Airlines Center. After speeches from Larry Bird and others he idolised growing up in Germany, Nowitzki told the crowd, "this is my last home game".

For Nowitzki, Wednesday's game at the San Antonio Spurs will be his career finale, but he gave fans in Dallas one last performance for which to cheer, in the process surpassing Michael Jordan as the oldest player to score 30 points in an National Basketball Association game.

Dirk Nowitzki announced his retirement from the Dallas Mavericks after Tuesday's home finale.

"The only guy that was missing was MJ", Nowitzki said, referring to Michael Jordan - the player he passed to become the oldest to score at least 30 in a game.

The final game of Nowitzki's storied career will be tonight against the Spurs. His final basket for his signature one-legged fadeaway from just above the free throw line in the final two minutes.

The sellout crowd that followed Cuban's orders by showing up early chanted "M-V-P" and "One more year" throughout the game. "I promise you a job for life". Nowitzki made 14 All-Star games and earned All-NBA honors 12 times in his 21-year NBA career played entirely with the Mavericks. "Now every big fella trying to shoot the ball from 3". Kobe Bryant, who retired three years ago, played 20 seasons with the Lakers. Then he had another dunk in the game - his second of the season - in the second half.

The news came on the heels of a season full of speculation over Nowitzki's future plans and a pregame setup that hinted that this might be his last game in Dallas. I can always push myself to work out and work hard.