Nowitzki Wants to Play for Germany

07.04.2004

From Johannes Berendt, PA International, Dallas

Dirk Nowitzki is optimistic about the future of Germany's national team and he has every
intention of helping them return to the top in Europe.

Nowitzki and Germany were knocked out of the European Championships in the elimination round by Italy, and that prevented the 2.13m center from playing in his first Olympics.

His busy NBA season has helped him wipe away some of the disappointment but he told PA International: "It still bothers me these days. It was so frustrating because we had lofty ambitions.

Nowitzki was named Player of the Week
"But moaning won't get us anywhere - you can only look ahead in sports. I'm sure (newly-appointed coach Dirk) Bauermann will add fresh blood and new swing. We do have a good team and a bright future ahead - I'm not at all worried."

The German Basketball Association (DBB) recently sent a two-man delegation to Texas to speak to Nowitzki and discuss his availability for an August friendly against the United States in Cologne.

They also wanted to hear his thoughts about playing for Germany as they attempt to qualify for the 2005 European Championships in Belgrade.

Germany are in Group C with Hungary, Ukraine and Belgium and could struggle without their talisman.

The difficulty for Nowitzki and other NBA players who have a gruelling campaign in the States is that they need to rest, something that Nowitzki's boss, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, has said on more than one occasion.

Germany must take out adequate insurance on Nowitzki to placate the Mavs, and that can be expensive.

DBB sports director Wolfgang Brenscheidt told PA International the federation would not pick up negotiations before the end of the season. 

"We've developed a standardised procedure over the past years. We root for the Mavs, wait for the season to end and hope Dirk doesn't get injured. Then we start working.

"I can understand Mark Cuban - from an economic point of view, his high standards for insurance cover are absolutely justified."

Nowitzki is arguably one of the top 10 players in the world.

Proof of that is that Nowitzki was just named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week after leading the Mavericks to three straight wins. He averaged 32.0 points on 57% shooting, 11.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He recorded a season-high 18 rebounds in a triumph over Cleveland, and scored 34 points in 34 minutes against the Suns.

"All my focus is on the NBA season right now and I've put all other things on hold until it´s finished," said Nowitzki.

"We have to see whether the insurance would also cover games in August and September."


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