»I was very fortunate to be able to realize my dream and become a professional athlete. With my experiences in sports, I learned that you have to work hard to reach your goal, but many children around the world need help to even have a chance to enhance their lives and to realize their dreams. With the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation I want to help provide education, health and well-being for these children and to make a difference in their lives.«
– Dirk Nowitzki
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 many seasons of 50 or more wins and annual trips to the playoffs from 2001 through 2012.
In 2006-2007, the Mavericks won a franchise record 67 games, and Dirk earned NBA Most Valuable Player honors — the first European player to win this award. In 2011, Dirk and the Mavericks reached their highest achievement to date by defeating Oklahoma City, the Portland Trailblazers, and the Lakers to reach the NBA Finals where they defeated the Miami Heat 4-2. Dirk was named NBA Finals MVP.
Dirk is the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA-history, currently being ranked 6th in all-time scoring with more than 31,000 points.
In 2002, after leading Germany to the bronze medal in the FIBA World Championships, Dirk became Gazzetta dello Sport’s European Basketballer of the Year, an award he has won five times. Dirk was FIBA European Basketball Player of the Year in 2005, after helping Germany win the silver medal at the FIBA European Championships. Dirk lead the German basketball team to their first Olympics since the 1992 Summer Olympics.
On December 18, 2011, Nowitzki was named the 2011 German Sports Personality of the Year, the first basketball player to receive the award. On December 10, 2012, he became the first non-American player to receive the Naismith Legacy Award.
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.
»With my foundation I’d like to help children and young people to see what they are capable of.«
»I’m a family person and I like to help others. That’s why I’m happy to support the foundation.«
»My goal is to make a difference in the lives of other people. I want to empower kids to accelerate their power in sports and in life.«
»The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. We all should invest in our future. You never know where the next President or scientist is going to come from…«
The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation is dedicated to putting children first and assisting them through programs focusing on their wellbeing, health and education.
The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation awards grants annually and funds projects to nonprofit organizations which run true to the overall mission of the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation. The Foundation lifts up children who are affected by illness, poverty, abuse and neglect through proper channels of guidance and directs them on a path to success.