Nowitzki in Deep Ellum, then maybe we'd have an American equivalent of Steven Gerrard.
The Liverpool captain and soul of his club and city plays his final home match at Anfield today, winding down his 17th season as a bit player, though still managing to score eight goals in Premier League play. As he himself admits, "I'm too old to play at this level." Too old to play to his standard, perhaps, his bone-rattling tackles, lashing drives from long range, box to box midfield play the stuff of a younger man.
But he remains an icon, a legendary figure the Reds will find impossible to replace. Says Liverpool head man Brendan Rodgers,
“I asked my staff to describe Steven in one word and they said things like ‘genuine’ and ‘quality,’ The word I would use is ‘Liverpool’. Not just Liverpool as a football club but Liverpool as a city. This is a guy who is very much about looking after his people. He loves his city. He’s had a number of opportunities to move to prestigious clubs but Liverpool is his home, he grew up around the corner, this is his place and these are the people he loves. What he’s given to this city, politicians haven’t given to this city. “All the work he does for local hospitals and charities goes unheralded. He is a wonderful symbol for the people here and an incredible icon of the club. You see in Barcelona they have the quote ‘more than a club’. You look at Steven Gerrard and he is more than football.”
FOG:TB John Day penned a terrific tribute to the Liverpool captain at Dangerman Futbol. In it, he imagines what might have been had Gerrard chosen to take one of the many offers presented to him to join one of Europe's other legendary sides. At the end, Dangerman decides that Gerrard made the right choice, "Because, for someone like Steven, a hometown boy raised in Red, the source of the applause, adoration, and admiration, likely means as much as the affection itself."
Gerrard never led the Reds to a Premier League title, the only silver missing from his stellar resume. When he slipped and turned the ball over to Chelsea's Demba Ba to cost Liverpool the 2014 Premier League championship, it was perhaps the cruelest moment in sports this decade. But he won everything else.
And there's always Istanbul, where in 2005 Gerrard led Liverpool to its fifth (and to now last) Champions League title. AC Milan took a 3-0 lead into the break against Gerrard's Reds before the captain scored the goal that kicked off a memorable comeback, and allowed him to raise the cup for his boyhood side.
The next, and likely final act of Stevie G's impossibly illustrious career will unwind in Los Angeles, where aging geniuses go to claim one last bit of glory. He'll walk onto the pitch in the Galaxy's unfamiliar blue and gold. But as the fans he leaves behind in his home town know, he'll never walk alone.