Dirk Nowitzki expressed an interest in playing for the German National Team at EuroBasket 2015 in September 2014. It wasn't a definitive statement. He said that he would make his final decision after the 2014-15 NBA season. Now, German fans have something to cheer about as Nowitzki made it official Thursday morning. He will be suiting up for his home country.
The last time Nowitzki played for Germany was in EuroBasket 2011. He had effectively retired from international competition since then. However, a major factor in Nowitzki decision to play at EuroBasket 2015 is that Berlin is one of the host cities.
"If it [the EuroBasket] was anywhere else, at the age of 37, it probably wouldn't have been a no-go for me.
"But when I heard that EuroBasket would be played in Berlin, a great basketball city, it was something I had dreamt about.
"Like every year, the DBB let me take my decision after the NBA season and, in the end, the national team was lucky that we [Dallas Mavericks] lost so early," Dirk added with his trademark self-deprecating humour.
EuroBasket 2015 was originally to be held in Ukraine but continued conflict in its eastern regions forced the tournament to be relocated.
Despite an arrangement between FIBA and the NBA, members of the Mavericks playing in international competition isn't popular with the team's front office. Mark Cuban is and outspoken critic of NBA players participating in overseas tournaments and the Olympics. However, soon after Nowitzki signaled his intentions to play in EuroBasket 2015 last year, Cuban gave Nowitzki permission to play. How could he say no to his star player?
For Nowitzki, who turns 37 June 19th, this will likely be the last time he plays for his home country. The German National Team expects Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder and Portland Trail Blazers center Chris Kaman to join Nowitzki in Berlin.
If the Germans make a deep run in the tournament, Nowitzki will have little time off before the Mavericks begin training camp. EuroBasket 2015 runs from September 5th through the 20th.