Mavericks fans and charitable folks filled up SMU's bleachers Saturday night to watch an entertaining mix of professional and amateur tennis players play a few rounds to raise money for Dirk Nowitzki's charity foundation.
The foundation has raised money for a variety of organizations in Dallas, but for the second annual Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic, the proceeds went to families affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Among the amateur players on the roster were movie star and Dallas native Owen Wilson, former Dallas Star Mike Modano, Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea and Nowitzki.
This group had the difficult task of competing against five-time Olympic tennis player Mark Knowles; Association of Tennis Professionals world tour players Tommy Haas, Donald Young, Michael Russell, and Benjamin Becker; and 2003 U.S. Open Champion Andy Roddick.
While Nowitzki is better known for his skills on the basketball court than the tennis court, the 7-foot-tall athlete held his own in a doubles match against Andy Roddick.
Another of the event's surprises was Mark Cuban's announcement that he would personally match the amount raised, up to $2 million.
At a conference before the event, the players trash-talked each other. Nowitzki said that the overall skill level had seemingly improved from last year, claiming that “it should almost look like tennis, unlike last year.”
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When Wilson was asked if he was worried about being slaughtered out on the court, he looked around, seemingly relaxed, and said, “I’m looking at these guys, and I don’t see how I lose today.”
But as onlookers erupted in laughter, he retracted. “I could be this year’s Harrison," he said, referring to a player invited to last year's event. "It sounds like I might not be getting the invite next year.”
The tournament began after a brief warm up. All the players battled hard, but the professionals clearly had the upper hand. Young and his doubles partner, Justin Whitman, walked away with the crown.