Dirk Nowitzki’s weeklong run of championship celebrations was capped by a surprise birthday party thrown for him Sunday night by girlfriend Jessica Olsson and lifelong coach/adviser Holger Geschwindner at the Dallas wine club Graileys.
The private event to commemorate Nowitzki’s 33rd birthday -- dubbed “Dinner For 41” -- featured exactly 41 guests, including Mavericks teammate Brian Cardinal, Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and various team staffers and close friends. Also in attendance were former Stanley Cup-winning Dallas Star Mike Modano and three award-winning scientists who are also Mavs fans.
As part of the evening’s program, Nowitzki was presented with a Larry O’Brien championship trophy cake and treated to performances from a Dallas Symphony Orchestra string quartet (Christopher Adkins, Diane Kitzman, Gary Levinson and Ellen Rose) as well as Dallas-based comedian Paul Varghese.
Special guests included Dr. Hans Deisendorfer, professor of biochemistry at UT Southwestern who won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1988 for his work in X-ray crystallography; Dr. Al Gilman, chairman emeritus of pharmacology at UT Southwestern who won a Nobel Prize in medicine in 1994 for his work on how cells communicate with each other; and Dr. Eric Olson, professor and chairman of molecular biology at UT Southwestern who won the LeFoulon Delalande Grand Prize from the French Academy of Science in 2009.
“Dirk was definitely surprised,” said Brian Dameris, one of the attendees and a former Mavs employee. “It was the perfect ending to the best week of his life.”