Dirk Nowitzki receives the AmCham Germany TransAtlantic Partnership Award 2012

Last night Dirk Nowitzi was given an award by the American Chamber of Commerce for his foundation’s work with disadvantaged children at the Ritz Carlton, Potzdamer Platz.

Dirk Nowitski signing autographs, Ritz Carlton, 5 October 2012

I had no idea who Dirk Nowitski was until the Bavarian announced we were going.

Dirk, who?

You know, basketball player, Dallas Mavericks, NBA Champion 2011, best European – no, best white basketball player ever, urged the Bavarian.

I shook my head.

He’s probably the most famous German in the world! yelled the Bavarian.

That would be Hitler, I pointed out.

Well, living then! Most famous living German!

That would be Heidi Klum.

Actually, it’s probably the Pope.

He doesn’t count, I replied, and so it went on…

Anyway, apparently Dirk’s big – and not just because he’s 7 ft tall (2.13 metres for non-Brits).

I also had no idea what the AmCham Germany TransAtlantic Partnership Award was, but they should think of a catchier name. It honors a significant contributions to the German-American relationship. Previous winners include cool people like Bill Gates (2011), and bizarre people like Arnold Schwarzenegger (2009).

There were about 300 guests. Attendees included Mark Cuban (Owner, Dallas Mavericks), Britt Dillmann (Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, Gold Medalist London 2012 Paralympics), Timo Boll (Professional table tennis player, Team Bronze Medalist, London 2012 Olympics), Jaka Bizlij (CEO, Star Entertainment) and interestingly, Dr. Dirk Notheis, who stepped down as Head of Morgan Stanley Germany after a scandal involving the German state overpaying for a stake in EnBW by about 840 million euros.

Obviously, we didn’t fit in (we were probably the only ones who googled “black tie gala dinner” beforehand and travelled there and back via public transport). Chandeliers glittered. The wine was excellent. Grammy-nominated Till Brönner and Band played jazz. We had a merry time.

Poor Dirk, on the other hand, was surrounded by people asking for autographs the whole time – and there was a crowd waiting for him outside too. The Bavarian, however, was interested in someone else -  the CEO of ING-DiBa, with whom we have a loan that we’ll be paying off for the rest of our lives. With every glass of wine, he became more convinced that it would be a trifle to have a word in his ear and get him, at the press of a button, to erase our debts. Thankfully, I managed to distract him from this goal until the evening was over…

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