Nowitzki given Germany’s highest sporting honor

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See what winning a ring can get you? A Silver Laurel Leaf.

Which is a huge deal to Dirk Nowitzki.

The Silver Laurel Leaf is the highest honor Germany can give its sporting heroes, and Nowitzki got one, according to ESPN Dallas.

German President Christian Wulff presented Nowitzki with the Silver Laurel Leaf, praising the Mavericks forward as one of the “giants of German sport…”

Wulff praised his fellow German for remaining “modest and restrained” despite his success.

This is well deserved. And it is also a little elbow to the ribs trying to make sure Nowitzki will play for Germany next summer if they qualify for the London Olympics. Which he will if healthy, he’s helping the team qualify for EuroBasket, which starts Wednesday.

It also got me thinking, what is the American equivalent? Getting your statue out in front of the arena where you played? Getting a street named after you around the arena? I think the best comparison is getting your jersey retired league wide — something only Jackie Robinson and Wayne Gretzky have had done. But not sure I want to see that done in the NBA.