Frank Ntilikina is truly living his best life.
It was a standout year for the Dallas Mavericks 6-4 guard. To recap: Ntilikina won a silver medal with France at the Tokyo Olympics, he published a children’s book about his life, signed a global ambassador contract with Adidas last month and he now has an accolade more for his resume.
The Dallas Mavericks selected Ntilikina as the recipient of the February 22 Chime Community Spotlight Award, based on her extraordinary commitment to serving children and youth here in North Texas and around the world.
The 23-year-old took part in a recent Mavs Reading Challenge and virtually read to a first grade class at Adelle Turner Elementary School.
He also spoke about the importance of books and the motivation behind his new French children’s book titled “Dunk”.
“It is important to spread the love of basketball, to express the love of sport and togetherness,” Ntilikina said. “I think sport is an important key and a great tool that we can use to bring people together. We can use this game to teach children about life.
Earlier in the season, Ntilikina worked with teenagers at the Dallas County Department of Youth’s Youth Village and hosted a Jr. NBA Clinic. Together they celebrated the game, learned the basics and Ntilikina taught the youngsters about teamwork, respect and sportsmanship.
Ntilikina is amazing with children and shows extra grace and patience. He understands what it’s like to be young because not too long ago he was in a classroom or working on his game as a kid.
He came to the league at just 18 and Ntilikina is already a fifth-year NBA veteran at 23. He’s not even close to his prime yet, which makes his professional career even more special.
However, despite all the hard work he does on the pitch, his dedication and love for the community really makes him shine.
“Frank won the Chime Community Spotlight this month in recognition of the light, smiles and connection to young people he brought to every event he attended,” said Hannah Sherertz, Director of corporate social responsibility of the Dallas Mavericks and president of the Mavs Foundation. .
“The kids loved playing basketball with him and asked lots of questions during the play timeout. Frank came to the team ready to get involved in community events and impact young people where he could, especially in two areas of service close to him – basketball and reading.
And for Mavs fans still learning to pronounce her name, it’s NIL-uh-KEE-nuh.
“The T is quiet,” he said.
Ntilikina was born in Belgium and moved to Strasbourg, France at a young age. His parents are from Rwanda and fled the country during the Rwandan civil war and landed in Belgium, where he was later born. Their story and life taught him perseverance at a young age, giving Frank a unique look to see the world.
His children’s book “Dunk” teaches how a young Ntilikina is ready to do anything to defend his dream. His childhood was devoted to basketball. With his two older brothers spending their time reading books and his mother working hard, Frank is determined to prove himself on the court. But the announcement of an imminent move upsets her daily life. What if he had to give up basketball and his friends?
“We were thrilled to bring Frank’s love for reading to this reading break, Frank having written his own book, it was so inspiring to young readers,” Sherertz said.
“He encouraged them to keep learning and always be curious. Frank had a natural connection with the students, even virtually. I think he could see himself in them, even coming from a different country and culture. They shared moments about the relationship with the main character of the book and shared many experiences from when he was their age.
Ntilikina’s other efforts off the pitch continue to reach new heights. On February 20, 2022, Ntilikina announced that he had signed an agreement with Adidas and will serve as the brand’s spokesperson in France. He has also modeled for various high fashion events over the years and appeared in the 2017 issue of Vogue with international superstar model Gigi Hadid.
He has a reputation as a defensive player on the field who makes an exceptional teammate. But he’s still young, and the sky’s the limit for this future star.
“You look at his defense, it’s amazing what he can do with his length,” coach Jason Kidd said. “But he is still young. I know we call some guys 23 or 24 years old. But he entered the league at 18. So I think we get it at the right time in his journey to be successful for him. We were lucky to have him.
Ntilikina also knows he can show his love for the game by giving back to the next generation.
“I remember what it was like to be a kid and look up to professional players,” he said. “So now that I’m here, I look back and realize the role they played in my life. I try to help others as best I can.”