The NBA is always busy during the first seven days of April. The regular season is winding down, retiring players are playing their final games, and the entire league is starting to zero in on the playoffs.
While the first weeks of April are hectic, they weren’t usually as chaotic as April 7, 2019. What happened four years ago was a hectic day for many NBA fans as big things happened then.
They saw two future Hall of Famers play their last home games for their teams. An NBA legend also controversially left a historic franchise.
These events may have only happened four years ago, but the events that occurred that day were significant enough to warrant a rewind. This OkBet sports piece will dissect what happened that day and see what happened when basketball went a bit crazy.
Nowitzki Bowed Out of American Airlines Arena with 30
Dirk Nowitzki and Dwayne Wade are two future Hall of Famers who wowed crowds with their style of play. They gave the fans of their franchises plenty of memorable moments during their career, especially during the 2006 and 2011 NBA Finals.
Nowitzki is one of the biggest reasons the NBA is full of big men who can shoot from deep. Dallas Mavericks fans will always remember his heroics against a Miami Heat superteam during the 2011 Finals.
His 2011 ring is why Dallas fans were saddened when the Tall Baller from the G announced his retirement after 21 fruitful seasons with the franchise. Fans naturally flocked to his final home game of the season, where his Mavs faced the Phoenix Suns.
It was a fantastic curtain call for Dirk as he notched 30 points in his final NBA game at the American Airlines Center. While he was largely inefficient from the field with 11-for-31, he notched eight rebounds, three assists, and a block. The Mavs triumphed over the Suns, 120-109.
Thirty Big Points for Wade County
Meanwhile, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Dwyane Wade was the Miami Heat when he was still playing.
He had the talent and confidence that allowed him to lead the Heat past the Mavs in 2006. He was also a great Robin to LeBron’s Batman during the Heatles’ peak.
While he left the Heat after disagreeing with Pat Riley, he eventually returned to Wade County. He then spent his final season trying to help the Heat make the playoffs.
While the team fell short of expectations, his final game at the American Airlines Arena was anything but. In what was a star-studded celebration of Miami’s basketball talisman, he scored 30 points on 44% shooting and 40% from deep. He also had three rebounds, three assists, and a block to his name.
The Heat made sure Wade’s Miami send-off was happy, as they beat Joel Embiid, future Heat star Jimmy Butler, and the Philadelphia 76ers to the tune of 122-99.
Magic’s Shock Departure as Lakers Executive
If you ask a Laker fan to name his top five Lakers of all time, Magic Johnson would be among the names they mention. The point guard was the key to the Showtime Lakers, and his magnetic personality made him a media darling who belonged in Tinseltown.
However, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Magic’s post-playing stint with the Purple and Gold was tenuous. From the moment he was named the team’s basketball operations president, the Lakers’ on-court struggles were magnified.
The infamous Paul George tampering incident was one of the biggest blunders involving the Hall of Fame point guard. The franchise had to pay $500,000 after he and General Manager Rob Pelinka were found guilty of expressing interest in acquiring George despite his existing contract with another team.
However, nobody was prepared when he abruptly vacated his post. According to CNN Sports, the Hall of Famer wanted to return to who he was before he took on the position. Some compared his shocking resignation to his first retirement as a player when he contracted HIV.
It didn’t take long before smoke appeared, though. Johnson claimed that plenty of “backstabbing” was happening behind the scenes. He pointed out that owner Jeanie Buss didn’t allow him to perform his responsibilities, which prompted him to pack his bags.
While Pelinka and the Lakers were still graceful towards the legendary guard, it was clear to everyone at the time that something was happening in the team. Thankfully, they won the NBA Finals against the Heat in Chicago after masterminding a big trade for Anthony Davis.
However, it was unfortunate that the relationship with one of their franchise’s most important stars had to be strained in such a way.
Will There Be Another Hectic April Day in the NBA?
When April comes rolling around, tensions are usually high. Teams chase playoff berths, players’ careers end, and movements always happen.
It may take a while before another day in April would be as significant as this one.