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Smiles all around as Dirk Nowitzki hosts annual Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic

Photo: Michael Lark/Dallas Sports Fanatic

Smiles all around as Dirk Nowitzki hosts annual Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic

Even in retirement, Dirk Nowitzki is still able to bring smiles to everyone as he represents the Dallas Mavericks.

On a scorching September Sunday morning, a slate of current and former Mavericks including Luka Doncic and Steve Nash gathered at SMU’s Turpin Stadium for the annual Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic.

The event benefits the Dirk Nowitzki foundation, which awards grants annually to organizations focusing on children’s wellbeing, health and education.  It is a great cause and a big turnout braved the heat, and potentially missed part of the Cowboys-Redskins game kicking off at noon, to show their support for the Big German.

While the “country club sport” of tennis isn’t necessarily known for being one where you just joke around while playing, there were plenty of playful jabs and giggles between the competitors on and off the courts.  Prior to the action, the ten celebrities participating met for a press conference to discuss various topics and the event itself.  The best playful jab might have come from Mavericks big man Dwight Powell.

Powell did follow up his joke by saying Dirk was “his guy” but Nowitzki didn’t hold back when he joked that he couldn’t wait for Powell to “get cut in two years.”  Reigning Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic was pretty quiet during the press conference, neither looking to pump up his own game on the tennis court or question anyone else’s.  Once the action got going, Doncic’s skills with a racquet were adequate at best. Doncic was able to get balls back over the net to his opponents, but any killer shots with speed weren’t necessarily coming from him.  He did, however, put a mild scare into one of the umpires while warming up for his first match.

The most impressive performances of the day came from both actor Boris Kodjoe and former Mavericks guard Steve Nash.  Nash joked during the press conference that his interest in tennis has sky-rocketed, but his ability wasn’t nearly as high.  He was being modest, for sure.  In his doubles match against Kodjoe, the two-time NBA MVP looked like he was on the type of court he grew up on with legitimate play at the net with vollies left and right plus a quality forehand with speed that likely tripled that of anything from Doncic. Kodjoe, an actor, looked the part of a former tennis professional with a blazing serve that was hard for anyone to return.

On a day with a lot of laughs and great people gathering for a good cause, it was another reminder of the love towards the great Dirk Nowitzki not only from the fans, but his peers around the world of sports and entertainment.

Editor and credentialed media writer covering the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Rangers | Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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