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Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki featured in George W. Bush's book on notable US immigrants

Nowitzki was one of 43 U.S. immigrants painted by former President Bush.

From News Services

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki sit next to former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush during the Mavericks’ Thursday game against the Nets.

As unlikely as Dirk Nowitzki becoming one of the best players in NBA history might have once seemed, his story as a German-born kid becoming a powerful influence within the United States might be even more praiseworthy.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush clearly thought as much, going as far as to feature the Dallas Mavericks legend in his new book: “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” The book, which includes portraits painted by Bush himself, features Nowitzki as one of 43 foreign-born individuals that have greatly contributed to America’s success.

Bush felt Nowitzki’s credentials went far beyond the 7-footer’s accomplishments on the basketball court.

Former President Georege W. Bush joins Inside The NBA to champion Dirk Nowitzki as a tell-tale immigrant success story.

“I had heard [Mavericks owner] Mark [Cuban] talk about Dirk’s contribution to Dallas when he retired, and I started looking into it,” Bush said during a live discussion before Thursday’s Nets-Mavericks game. “This is a man who was not only famous, but should be more famous for how he’s helped people.

“That’s why I put him in the book. Americans need to know that immigrants make contributions to our society in all kinds of ways. They’re good for the economy. They’re patriots, but they’re also full of compassion to help others.”

Nowitzki accepted the praise and his appearance in the book with his typically humorous humility.

“He made me look skinny, which is great, forever,” Nowitzki said, per the Dallas Morning News. “It’s really good. It’s really nice. It was an honor, of course, to be in this book and get asked to be in the book.”

Nowitzki and Bush sat courtside during Thursday’s game, receiving a welcome ovation from the Dallas crowd.