Dirk Nowitzki was born in Würzburg, Germany on June 19, 1978. He began his professional career with Würzburg DJK in the Bundesliga and then impressed NBA coaches and scouts with 33 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 steals at the 1998 Nike Hoop Summit. Consequently, Dirk became the ninth pick in the NBA draft, with an arranged trade that sent him from Milwaukee to Dallas.
Dirk owns multiple Mavericks franchise records, including career points, three-point field goals, free throws, rebounds, and points in a single game. He has led the Mavericks to seasons of 50 or more wins and annual trips to the playoffs since 2001. The 2005-2006 season resulted in an exciting playoff. Dirk played a major role in sweeping the Grizzlies, defeating San Antonio and the Suns, and winning the Western Conference Championship for Dallas’ first trip to the NBA Finals.
Dirk is the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA-history, currently being ranked 7th in all-time scoring with over 28,000 regular-season points.
Dirk is a 13-time All Star, including the Rookie-Sophomore game, four three-point contests (first place in 2006), a 12-time All-NBA Team member, and the first European player to start in an All-Star Game as well as the first to receive the NBA Most Valuable Player Award (2007).
In 2012, Dirk received the AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce) Germany TransAtlantic Partnership Award which honors active, examplary, and long-term initiatives by German or American individuals and institutions. Others who have received this award include Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, and Hasso Plattner, the founder of German software giant SAP AG.
Dirk takes his work seriously on the court, but he is also serious about making a difference off the court. Each year he makes hundreds of appearances and signs thousands of autographs in his desire to help children in our communities. In 2013, Dirk was named German ambassador for UNICEF with a focus to fight malnutrition in the world and promote a healthy lifestyle. “UNICEF helps us realize to what extent children need our support. However, UNICEF stands for solutions,” Dirk said after being appointed their new ambassador in Germany.
In December 2007, the NBA honored him with the NBA Community Assist Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the community and for his ongoing philanthropic work. Whether it is meeting children throughout the season for the Make-A-Wish Foundation or purchasing and delivering thousands of dollars worth of Christmas toys for children in a local hospital, Dirk loves to give back to children. He says, “Helping kids is one of the best things I get to do as a professional athlete, and it is a privilege to be a part of those events.”
Through the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation he awards grants annually to organizations focusing on children’s wellbeing, health and education, which runs true to the mission of his own foundation. With this he offers all of us an opportunity to help give positive experiences to children around the world.
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