DALLAS — The Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities will present the 2019 Roger Staubach Award to former Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and his wife, Jessica, Friday for their outstanding impact in the North Texas community.
The award is the central part of the gala for the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities' celebrity golf invitational.
"I think Dirk Nowitzki has been a great citizen for Dallas, a great citizen for the United States as well, a tremendous basketball player," Emmitt Smith said. "And we're honored that he and his wife have blessed us with the opportunity to receive the Roger Staubach Award."
Nowitzki retired from the Mavericks in April after being with the club since 1998. The 2011 NBA Finals MVP was frequently involved with the Heroes Foundation and organized a celebrity baseball game every June to benefit the foundation.
In community outreach Nowitzki and his family provided North Texas during his playing career, the 7-0 German also transformed the Mavericks into a champion with a NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat in 2011.
"He's probably transformed the whole organization," said Smith. "From a face standpoint you can go back to Mark Aguirre and the other guys, but from a public facing, interfacing standpoint, the Mavs had done a great job of building things around Dirk Nowitzki. And to win the championship with him on the team, yeah, it was pretty special."
Nowitzki won't be the only North Texas-area athlete to be recognized. Smith also indicated that LaDainian Tomlinson would be lauded for his community outreach.
Friday evening will be the 10th fundraising gala that the Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities has organized to impact the North Texas community with, "educational experiences and enrichment opportunities for underserved children," according to a release, which has raised over $8 million in that span.
Smith isn't just providing funds for the children, but experiences and opportunities.
Said Smith: "The experiences that we've done with our Team 22 kids, the things that we've done with Dallas DISD, some of the scholarships that we have afforded some of the kids through the Beat the Odds Foundation and to see them go on in life and become what they are, those experiences will never, ever go away for us. They're life-changing experiences that young people have to transform their lives and go do something productive."
Robin Roberts from "Good Morning America" will emcee the event. For more information, visit www.emmittsmithcelebrityinvitational.com.
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