Dirk Nowitzki Won't Compete in 2016 Rio Olympics, Retires from German Team

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2016

Oklahoma City Thunder's Dion Waiters (3) looks on as Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany attempts a 3-point basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Dallas. The Thunder won 109-106. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is retiring from international competition. Nowitzki announced his decision Sunday in an interview with German newspaper Bild.

“The last match at Euro 2015 was my last match for Germany,” he said (h/t the Agence France Presse, via Interaksyon.com).

Nowitzki, 37, last played for the German national team in its 77-76 loss to Spain in Euro 2015. The future Hall of Famer has been a fixture in international competition since 1997. In 2008, he helped push Germany to its first Olympic Games since 1992, eventually retiring for the first time in 2011 after Germany failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

The 2006-07 NBA MVP returned to the team for EuroBasket last year. In that tournament, he moved up to second on the all-time EuroBasket scoring list.

“You know, to me, it was the big deal that the tournament, or at least the first round, is in Germany,” Nowitzki said in June, per Earl K. Sneed of the Mavericks' official website. “I think I’ve never had a home European championship or world championship at home. This means a lot to our country and to the basketball world in our country."

Given the fact that Germany was not able to advance to an Olympic qualifying tournament for the 2016 Games, it's no surprise Nowitzki has decided to walk away. He most likely wouldn't have participated anyway—the scene as Germany was eliminated from EuroBasket screamed retirement—but being awarded a qualifier may have changed his mind.

As it stands, Nowitzki has accomplished everything he can on the international level. German basketball is in a far better place now than in 1997, and Nowitzki's ascent to all-time greatness played a huge role.

At age 37, he needs to minimize the risk to his body as much as possible so he can continue serving as the Mavericks' offensive fulcrum. International basketball is just far too taxing, especially given it'd take place during a time when his body could be recovering.


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