Nowitzki is a worldwide known basketball name. He is the Mavs¡¯ all-time leading scorer, the 2011 NBA Finals MVP, the 2007 NBA MVP and a two-time FIBA Europe Player of the Year. Basketball also introduced him to his wife.
The two met at a charity event for the Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEED) Project on a snowy night in February 2010. It was NBA All-Star weekend in Dallas. The Senegal-based nonprofit used basketball as a platform to engage youths in academic, athletic and leadership programs.
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The bewildered first-grader tried to piece together what had left his family so broken. Someone, he was told, had been killed. Panicked, he began counting heads in his grandmother’s den. Was it a member of the family? A friend up the street?
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Grady took his young son by the hand and drove him home in his patrol car.
“And that’s when he told me all about this Dr. King guy they were all talking about,” Rivers says. “It was the first time I had ever heard of Martin Luther King.”
When Rivers went to Proviso East High School and made the basketball team, his father sat in the front row of the bleachers, his badge gleaming, to remind his son what was expected of him.
“My brother and I loved going to headquarters and seeing the holding cells,” Rivers says. “Sometimes, you’d see people you knew in there.
“My dad always told me, ‘Let me tell you something, son. If you are on the other side of those bars, I’m not doing anything to get you out.'”