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Tony Romo praises Dirk Nowitzki as potential retirement looms

Tony Romo and Dirk Nowitzki became friends during their respective professional careers in Dallas, and the former Cowboys quarterback recently raved about the Mavericks icon ahead of what might be the last home game of his storied NBA career.

Nowitzki, despite being on a farewell tour of sorts all season at every NBA arena he visits, has been adamant in insisting no decision has been made concerning retirement. He has called the tributes and accolades “humbling,” but has yet to divulge his career plans.

Whatever Nowitzki ultimately decides, Romo praised the Mavs great to no end, hailing him as an athlete who will be revered in Texas on the same level as the Cowboys’ all-time greats.

“Dirk Nowitzki is and will always beĀ the Dallas Mavericks, the way we talk about the Roger Staubachs, Troy Aikmans, Michael Irvins, Emmitt Smiths and Bob Lillys,” Romo said, via ESPN’s Todd Archer. “You just don’t find in life somebody that you would argue is a top-10 player in the history of their sport — and I can argue after getting to know him and his wife, Jessica, through the years — that [he] might be better off the court. He’s exemplified everything that Dallas and this community is about. He is genuine. He is real. He is caring.

“And he’s 7-feet tall. Good luck finding that again.”

Romo also shared how Nowitzki mentored him through some tough times during his up-and-down Cowboys career.

“I can remember going through tough stretches early in my career,” Romo said, “and Dirk would not only send me a text, but we saw each other at dinner one night and he made a point of telling me, ‘You’re going to have ebbs and flows in your career. Sometimes it’s going to go great. Sometimes not. There’s going to be some teams that will be better and some not as good, but just keep working.’ And he was dead right.”

Nowitzki, regardless of whether he opts to return for a 22nd season or retire, will receive a hero’s welcome Tuesday night as the Mavs close out the home portion of their season by hosting the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has promised it will be a “special night” at the arena “whether [Nowitzki] likes it or wants it or not.”