Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness ruffled some feathers in German basketball when he said Bayern would not be interested in an old Dirk Nowitzki for the Beko BBL and insisted the club’s job is to develop new Nowitzkis.
When asked by the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag if he would be interested in signing a big star like Nowitzki, Hoeness said: “That would be the wrong way! His salary is double our entire budget. We want basketball at the highest level. Dirk will not stop playing in the NBA until he can hardly run any more. That doesn’t help us at all. We are – without offending Nowitzki – not a nursing home for basketball players.”
Hoeness continued: “It is the job of (Bayern head coach) Mr. (Svetislav) Pesic to develop new Nowitzkis.”
Pesic, in the same interview, added: “Exactly. We don’t need to talk about Nowitzki at all. Our job in Germany and my job with Bayern must be to produce our own Nowitzkis.”
Bayern Munich were connected to possibly acquiring Nowitzki last season during the NBA lockout. Nowitzki did not play at all until the NBA returned to action and the 34-year-old missed the first 27 games of the current NBA season after right knee surgery.
Axel Schweitzer, chairman of the Alba Group, owners of Alba Berlin, was outraged by Hoeness’s comments about Nowitzki.
“Hoeness’s statement is defamatory. We are talking about Germany’s greatest active athlete. He is a role model throughout the sports world,” said Schweitzer in Bild.
“I think it’s pretentious to say that you’re not the nursing home of the league. FC Bayern is one of the leading brands in Europe, to Hoeness’s credit. But Bayern haven’t won any basketball titles in recent times. First you should win something and then formulate pretensions.”
Schweitzer also recommitted to his on-going interest in acquiring Nowitzki for Berlin.
“I stand by that. Nowitzki always has a spot with Alba. We would also bring him in at 38 years old,” said Schweitzer.
“There are two basketball brands in Germany: Nowitzki and Alba. It would be brilliant to connect them.”
The Alba boss even expressed doubts about the sustainability of Munich’s basketball team in Germany’s most dominating football club.
“Who says that FC Bayern are still even in professional basketball when Nowitzki’s contract ends with Dallas.”
Nowitzki has a contract with the Mavericks until 2014.