There should be a picture of Dirk Nowitzki when you look up the definition of “class act.”

There are many, many reasons to love the big German. His loyalty to the Dallas Mavericks and the fact that he brought Dallas its first NBA title immediately come to mind.

But it’s his humility and truly humble nature that pull at my heart strings the most. He’s the type of player I would have admired no matter what franchise he played for, but it just so happens he played for my team. And I can’t thank him enough for it.

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I was in attendance at American Airlines Center during the after party following the Mavs’ championship parade in 2011 and I’ll admit it, his speech brought me to tears. Watching the tears roll down his face as he talked about how much it meant to bring a championship to Dallas made me lose it.

We Mavs fans are truly blessed in that we went from the legend that is Dirk Nowitzki to a legend in the making in Luka Doncic. I'm loving it.

TMZ Sports caught up with Dirk on his way into the Staples Center in Los Angeles prior to the Mavs’ loss to the Clippers in Game 7 Sunday and asked him if he thought Luka would ever eclipse him as the greatest Maverick of all-time and his answer was, “He already has.”

While I commend him for his humility, I’m not ready to agree with him just yet. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a Luka fan through and through and I truly believe one day he will pass Dirk as the greatest Mav.

But it’ll take a few more years of great play and a championship ring before I’m ready to go there.

LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.

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