Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki get their swan song; Donovan Mitchell’s Dunk Contest coach gets another win

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, left, and Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, right, talk as they swap jerseys after an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

It was a suggestion emailed from a fan to NBA commissioner Adam Silver that led to two NBA greats, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and Miami’s Dwyane Wade, being added to the rosters for the 2019 All-Star Game.

“I get lots of emails as commissioner. People can go to our website and, in essence, email ideas to the commissioner and often complaints,” Silver said. “I asked my colleagues in the league office what they thought of it, and I spoke to both Mark Cuban, of course, the principal owner of the Mavericks, and Micky and Nick Arison at the Miami Heat, and asked them what they thought of the idea. Everyone thought it was a wonderful idea.”

It’s now Nowitzki’s 14th All-Star appearance, Wade’s 13th. Wade was selected in the All-Star draft by his banana-boat buddy, LeBron James, while Giannis Antetokounmpo was left to bolster his internationally laden roster with Nowitzki. The 7-foot sharpshooter was also added to the NBA’s 3-point contest on Saturday night, despite his slower shooting pace.

“Most people thought I wouldn’t make it in a minute. So I rushed a couple because I always had that in my mind, ‘You’ve got to finish, you’ve got to finish,’” Nowitzki said. “I was hustling harder in between racks than I do on transition defense usually.”

Wade announced his pending retirement in April, which has meant he’s received ovations from fans and gifts from friendly players from all over the league.

“You never know how it’s going to end for you. For me to be able to decide that this is my last season and for the fans, the ovations I get in every arena, for the love I get every time we pull up to a hotel, for the things that teams do in the arena for me, it’s just been great. So I’m appreciative,” Wade said.

On the other hand, Nowitzki hasn’t decided whether or not it’s his last season. “I want to see how my body feels the last couple of weeks. If I get to see any improvement, if it’s still fun, and I guess we’re going to make that decision later,” Nowitzki said.

Silver was more confident. “In the case of Dirk Nowitzki, I saw him painfully running up and down the court, and I think it was clear that this was going to be his last season,” he said.

Dunk Contest coach wins again

Oklahoma City’s Hamidou Diallo ran away with the Dunk Contest on Saturday night, and it was in part thanks to the coaching he received from Chuck Millan of Team Flight Brothers, who helped Diallo design his dunks.

“It took quite a while. I mean, it was definitely a long thought process, but I had great help with the Team Flight Brothers,” Diallo said. “My guy Chuck, he really helped me out, and he knows what I could do, I know what I could do. So it was all about being creative.”

Millan also was a significant help to the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell in his dunk contest win in 2018, acting as his coach and helping Mitchell design his dunks.

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