Duncan's exit was extremely low-key with very little fanfare, while Bryant announced his early in the campaign, resulting in several opponents rolling out the red carpet for his visits. His farewell tour culminated in a 60-point outburst at Staples Center against the Utah Jazz, with the plan being to get Bryant the ball and let him go out in a blaze of glory.
Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki inked a two-year, $50-million contract over the summer, with a team option in the second year. He's hinted this may be the final deal of his career, so he may join The Big Fundamental and the Black Mamba soon enough. When that happens, Nowitzki would prefer his retirement to resemble Duncan's, rather than Bryant's.
"You know, I loved the way Kobe went out ... with a 60-point game? That's so Kobe-like," Nowitzki said during an appearance on Sports Illustrated's Beyond the Baseline podcast. "The whole arena was standing up the whole fourth quarter. So much fun to watch. But I'm more like a Duncan guy. More a quiet guy. I don't need the limelight as much. Maybe not quite the just e-mail, 'Hey, by the way Tim Duncan is retiring.' I thought that was a little low profile. Maybe there's a little press conference or something. I don't know, I don't really want to think about it because I know it's gonna come up soon anyway. I'm just gonna enjoy the last couple of years."
Like Duncan and Bryant, Nowitzki has every intention of being a one-team player and committing to only the Mavs' organization. He acknowledged that he'd only leave if Dallas decides to rebuild, but with the summer acquisitions of Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut, it's clear a deep playoff run is still top priority.
Nowitzki put up 18.3 points, 6.5 boards, and 1.8 assists while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from deep in 31.5 minutes over 75 contests in 2015-16.
- with h/t to the Dallas Morning News