German superstar Dirk Nowitzki will not play at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, saying he would rather concentrate on the NBA this up-coming season but at the same time committed to playing at the 2011 Eurobasket in Lithaunia
The Dallas Mavericks power forward made his announcement on the German Basketball Federation website on Tuesday.
“I observed the young national team in Poland (at 2009 Eurobasket) and think they are very talented, and now I met the new players in Hamburg (at FIBA U17 World Championship). I am certain that they will present themselves well at the World Championship and continue to develop,” said Nowitzki.
“Next summer I hope to achieve with the German team our big goal of reaching the Olympics (2012 in London).”
The 2011 Eurobasket is the qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympics.
The 32-year-old star said he wants to focus this summer on the Mavericks, with whom he signed a new contract in the off-season.
“I signed a new contract in Dallas, where we have entirely new chances. And I would like to concentrate 100 percent on the coming NBA season,” said the Wurzburg native.
Germany’s national team coach Dirk Bauermann had mixed emotions about Nowitzki’s decision.
“You have laugh and cry a bit with Dirk’s decision. Of course we will miss Dirk at the World Championship. He cannot be replaced. But on the other hand we know now that he will be there when we fight for the 2012 Olympics in London,” Bauermann was quoted on the German federation website.
“I entirely respect Dirk’s decision. Now my young team has to show the rest of the world as much as they did last year to the European basketball world. It will not be easy since we will also be missing Patrick Femerling and Sven Schultze. But I have faith in my players and know they will give their all.”
The question now is if Chris Kaman will also back out of the Worlds in Turkey, something which is very likely.
The German federation wrote: “With Dirk Nowitzki’s pulling out, Chris Kaman’s participation in the World Championship is unlikely.”