After a lot of soul-searching, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has finally decided that he will play for the Germany national team this summer.
Nowitzki made the announcement during a news conference Thursday morning in Frankfurt, Germany. The fact that Germany is hosting EuroBasket 2015, which is in September, played a pivotal role in Nowitzki’s decision.
"I’ve chosen to be in Berlin,’’ Nowitzki said in a statement on EuroBasket’s website. "I’ve had the whole month of May and used it to gain some distance and enjoy family time.
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"Of course, I also have consulted the matter with my wife. But a EuroBasket in our home country is a huge thing and I look forward to it. I thought it would be a great way to conclude my national team career.’’
Germany is hoping to earn a berth to the 2016 Rio Olympics. For that to happen, Germany needs a top two finish at EuroBasket.
However, if Germany finishes third-through-sixth at EuroBasket they would earn a spot in the Olympic qualifying tournament. The top three teams in the Olympic qualifying tournament will land a trip to the Rio Olympics.
During the Mavs’ exit interviews after this season, Nowitzki discussed how he was debating within himself on whether or not to venture into playing international basketball one last time.
"I understand the geographic implications for him,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said at the time. That’s going to be one that’s going to be tough for him to turn down.
"I’ve been to Germany enough times to understand the national feeling with respect to their team and of course his importance. Not just on a national basis, but a global basis. But I’ll be completely supportive either way.’’
Dirk turns 37 on June 19 and has two years remaining on a three-year, $25 million contract he signed with the Mavs last summer.