Basketball Federation of Germany retires Dirk Nowitzki’s number 14. A legend like Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t belong to one country nor can be contained by one. The German Basketball Federation did the same today as the Dallas Mavericks did last season when they retired Nowitzki’s number 41. At the Eurobasket 2022 opening ceremony, Nowitzki was recognized before Germany and France squared off at Lanxess Arena. As the first German basketball player to have his number retired, Nowitzki makes history.
Nowitzki decided on the number 14 after witnessing Charles Barkley excel on the 1992 Dream Team for the United States. Robert Pack was already wearing 14, but when he joined the Mavericks, he switched to 41.
“When I came to the USA, I wanted number 14, but a player named Robert Pack had it and didn’t want to give it up to a young German rookie,” Nowitzki laughed. ”So I ended up flipping the numbers and it worked out great. Internationally for Germany, I was always 14 and in the USA I was 41, so it kind of worked perfectly.”
Dirk Nowitzki for Germany
Over the course of his 21-year NBA career, Nowitzki participated in 153 games for Germany. He led Germany to third- and second-place finishes at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2002 and the EuroBasket in 2005, respectively. Nowitzki has frequently stated that getting Germany to the 2008 Olympics was one of his best basketball achievements. He genuinely enjoyed competing for his native nation.
Talking to the crowd before the game, Dirk Nowitzki expressed how incredible a journey it was for him. “It was for me an unforgettable journey.” Luka Doncic attended the ceremony, as he was thereafter Slovenia defeated Lithuania. Additionally present were Casey Smith, Jason Kidd, Michael Finley, Nico Harrison, Mark Cuban, and Jason Kidd.
Nowitzki specifically expressed his gratitude to Cuban for helping him compete internationally. “You always supported me in playing every summer,” Nowitzki said to Cuban. “You knew it was important to me to represent my country and I really appreciate that.”