‘Character on and off the floor’: Dirk Nowitzki statue unveiled at AAC ahead of Mavs Christmas game

“You deserve this for every Dallas Mavericks fan, for every Dirk Nowitzki fan,” said Mavs owner Mark Cuban.

DALLAS. On Christmas morning, the Dallas Mavericks unveiled a huge statue of Dirk Nowitzki at PNC Plaza at the American Airlines Center.

“You deserve this for every Dallas Mavericks fan, for every Dirk Nowitzki fan,” said Mavs owner Mark Cuban Nowitzki.

“Let’s talk about history,” added head coach Jason Kidd.

“This beautiful piece of art will stay here forever and you deserve it.”

Thousands of fans in blue Santa hats and Nowitzki T-shirts filled AAC and Nowitzki Way to watch the statue being unveiled.

“This season has been absolutely amazing to watch,” Mavs fan Dax Josten told WFAA ahead of the ceremony.

“I was always looking, when he was little, for someone who would be a great example,” Dux’s mom, Shayla Josten, chimed in.

“And Dirk was a great example.”

Hector Yang, from Beijing, told the WFAA that he traveled all the way from Iowa, where he is in law school, to watch the opening ceremony in person.

Dirk, he says, inspired him to move to the United States.

“Dirk has always been my model, since childhood, for example, in 2006,” Yang said.

The statue depicts Dirk doing his famous one-leg disappearance throw.

“This thing will be here long after we’re gone,” Nowitzki said proudly, admiring the statue.

“And other generations can come here and be proud, so thank you guys,” he told a cheering audience.

Later in his press conference before the game, Kidd praised Nowitzki’s modesty.

“He’s who he is, he doesn’t go around with security, he’s just a guy who takes his kids to play tennis,” Kidd said.

At his own press conference, Nowitzki addressed reporters who asked what he thought his legacy would be.

“Be the best you can be,” he said.

“Use all your talent, don’t leave a single stone unturned… that was on the court. And I think the coolest moment off the court was how I grew up in that community.”

At the bottom of the statue is written: “Loyalty never fades.”

There are 21 letters in this message, which means Nowitzki’s 21 years with the Mavs.

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