Germany will honor Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki by making him the first basketball player ever to have his jersey retired by the country.
Nowitzki rocked the No.41 jersey with Dallas but wore No.14 while playing for Germany in international competitions. His No.14 will be retired on September 1, 2022, before Germany faces off against France on the opening day of the FIBA EuroBasket tournament.
“I felt honored when the German Basketball Federation presented this idea to me. That was a nice surprise and I’m excited to see what awaits me in Cologne,” said Nowitzki. “As an ambassador of the FIBA EuroBasket, I’m looking forward to exciting games with great teams and I hope that the fans in Cologne and Berlin will ensure full arenas and a great atmosphere.”
Nowitzki played for the German national team from 1999 until his international retirement in 2016. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest European basketball players, carrying Germany to a second-place finish at the 2005 EuroBasket tournament.
He also helped Germany qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, serving as the nation’s flag carrier during the opening ceremony.
In total, Nowitzki played 153 games for the German national senior team, scoring 3,045 points.
“If anyone deserves it, it’s Dirk,” said President of the German Basketball Federation, Ingo Weiss. “He was always ready to play for Germany and has achieved incredible things in 153 international games for the national team.”
“It’s great that Dirk also brings his enthusiasm and experience to basketball as Chair of the FIBA Players’ Commission and as the official FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Ambassador,” Weiss added. “I am pleased that we have found a suitable setting to honor Dirk Nowitzki in this way.”
It will be the second jersey retirement for Nowitzki this year, as the Mavericks retired Nowitzki’s No.41 in January.
After being drafted by the team in 1998, Nowitzki played all 21 seasons of his NBA career with the Mavericks. He helped bring the only NBA championship in franchise history to Dallas in 2011.
Current Mavericks All-star, Luka Doncic, will be competing with the reigning EuroBasket champion Slovenian national team and will be able to watch Nowitzki’s jersey retirement ceremony, which will take place following his game against Lithuania in Cologne.
Doncic’s Slovenian national team is slated to face Germany in the group play stage of the tournament.