DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - After spending 21 years and counting with the Dallas Mavericks and contributing a great deal, not only to the team but to the community, Dirk Nowitzki received the key to the city Wednesday night.
Mayor Mike Rawlings made the presentation at halftime of the Mavericks game against the Brooklyn Nets.
"We are going to present you with a special recognition, the Dallas key to the city," Mayor Rawlings said while handing over the ceremonial key to the city. The crowd cheered.
"This is incredibly humbling. It's been a pleasure. It's been an absolute honor to represent this franchise, this great city and all these great people all around the world. So thank you. I won't lose the key," Nowitzki said.
Before the ceremony, Mayor Rawlings and Nowitzki joked about "perks" that come with the key to the city. The Mayor assured him, there are none!
After the game, Nowitzki tweeted, "I got the key, key, key..." with a photo of the key.
Children's Health tweeted, "We're excited for Uncle Dirk to receive a key to the
@CityOfDallas from Mayor @Mike_Rawlings at tonight's @dallasmavs game. We're #thankful for all @swish41 does to make life better for our patients and their families."
Nowitzki was the third person to receive a key to the city from Mayor Rawlings over his more than seven years in office.
The Mayor's office said, Nowitzki is being honored not only for his professional achievements in his 20 seasons with the Mavericks organization, but also for his outstanding contributions to the community.
Among Nowitzki's notable humanitarian contributions:
Grants made annually to organizations focusing on children's wellbeing, health and education through The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation – Last year, the Foundation raised $960,000 and held its annual Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic raising $1.92 million for Hurricane Harvey victims. His foundation also holds monthly meetings with Hurricane Harvey victims to help families start over and re-enter the workforce.
Hurricane relief efforts – Nowitzki donated to the JJ Barea Foundation to assist Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico. He also helped 10 families who were relocated to Dallas from Houston after Hurricane Harvey.
Annual Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game to benefit various local nonprofits such as Girls Embracing Mothers, Alley's House, Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Annual visits to patients at Children's Medical Center.
"Dirk's Dunkers" - Nowitzki hosts special guests from youth-based nonprofit organizations, underserved schools and veteran groups in this section of the American Airlines Center.
Seats for Soldiers- Nowitzki, along with his teammates, signs hundreds of autographs while spending time with wounded soldiers from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and reserve troops from the Dallas-Fort Worth area following the Seats for Soldiers game each fall.
In recognition of Nowitzki's global humanitarian efforts, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth honored him with the prestigious H. Neil Mallon Award in September 2017.
Although Nowitzki has not played this season, he could be back in action within the next month, the Mavericks said.
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