Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki hosts celebrity baseball game on Friday



FRISCO – On the basketball court, Dirk Nowitzki is one of the great legends of this game.

But on the baseball diamond, even Nowitzki questions how his skills haven’t improved since he started hosting the Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game five years ago.

"Honestly, I think they’ve regressed,’’ Nowitzki said, referring to his baseball skills. "I don’t know how that’s possible.

"The game is fun, obviously. But I wouldn’t say I’m a better baseball player than I was five years ago, but we’ll have a little batting practice again on Thursday.’’

The ever-popular Dirk Nowitzki’s 2016 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. The money raised will benefit the children’s charities of the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and the Heroes Foundation.

It’s the 15th year this event has been held and the fifth straight year Nowitzki’s name has been on the marquee.

A bushel of talented athletes from the sports world are expected to play in Friday’s game. That includes Mavericks players Chandler Parsons, J. J. Barea, Deron Williams, Justin Anderson, Devin Harris, Raymond Felton, David Lee, Jeremy Evans, Wesley Matthews, Dwight Powell, Charlie Villanueva, Salah Mejri and JaVale McGee, along with coach Rick Carlisle.

Former Mavericks players Jason Terry and Brian Cardinal are also slated to participate in this game, as will actors Chace Crawford and Geoff Stults.

In addition, a Dallas Cowboys contingent headed by Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Darren McFadden, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, J.J. Wilcox, Devin Street, Lucky Whitehead, Byron Jones, Tyrone Crawford, Dan Bailey, Brice Butler, Barry Church, La’el Collins, Lance Dunbar and Mark Nzeocha will be in uniform in support of Nowitzki.

Ex-Texas Rangers Michael Young and David Murphy, former pro baseball player Ben Grieve, and FC Dallas players Chris Seitz, Walker Zimmerman and Ryan Hollingshead will also play in the game, while PGA golfer Jordan Spieth will be the manager of one of the teams.

Tickets to the game are $9, $13, $17 and $20 and can be purchased at the Dr Pepper Ballpark Box Office, at ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Parking is $10 and is available at Lots A, B, E and F.

Now, about Nowitzki’s baseball skills – or lack thereof.

"A couple of years ago we had some really good baseball guys and they were trying to give me pointers,’’ Nowitzki said. "It looks so easy (to hit a baseball), but it’s so hard.

"The swing is so unnatural, even though it looks so easy. It’s so much harder in person, so I don’t think for the rest of my baseball career I’ll be any good.’’

Besides basketball what Nowitzki is good at is being a pitchman. Lately, he’s been working feverishly trying to make sure there are no tickets left for this baseball game.

"I’m trying to get the place sold out,’’ Nowitzki said. "I think it’s our third sellout we’re working on.

"And I think there’s only like 1,000 tickets left. So we’re excited.’’

Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram