The FIBA Eurobasket 2022 will offer Luka Dončić and a few other Mavericks a chance to take the international stage to represent their various countries.
It also will be a chance to celebrate the greatest Maverick of them all.
With the tournament taking place in Dirk Nowitzki’s home country, the German basketball federation (DBB) will use the opening day of the event to retire his No. 14 national team jersey.
The German federation announced the plans in a news release early Tuesday. The ceremony will happen before the Germany-France game on Sept. 1 in Cologne on the opening day of the Eurobasket event.
It is the first time in the 73-year history of the German basketball federation that they have retired a jersey number.
This means both Nowitzki’s No. 41 Mavericks jersey and his No. 14 German uniform never will again be worn. Nowitzki wore No. 41 in the NBA because No. 14 (Robert Pack) was taken when he was drafted in 1998.
“I felt honored above all when this idea was presented to me by the DBB,” Nowitzki said in a statement. “It was a nice surprise and I’m already excited about what awaits me in Cologne.
“As an ambassador of FIBA EuroBasket, I’m looking forward to exciting games with great teams and hope that the fans in Cologne and Berlin will ensure full arenas and a great atmosphere.”
The Mavericks retired Nowitzki’s No. 41 in January in a ceremony that was emotional for the 14-time NBA all-star, who also put in more than 20 years of service for the German national team.
“If anyone deserves it, it’s Dirk,” said DBB president Ingo Weiss. “He has always been willing to play for Germany, putting in incredible performances in 153 international games for the men.”
Nowitzki was the German flag-bearer for the march into the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Among his many international highlights were 47 points against Angola in the 2006 World Cup and his game-winning shot in the 2005 European Championship semifinal that gave the Germans a 74-73 victory over Spain.
“Dirk is much more than just the outstanding player,” Weiss said. “As a socially committed family man, he has always had a heart for the weaker members of society, and his special concern has always been for the next generation of players.
“I am pleased that we have found a suitable setting to honor Dirk.”
Dirk has, and will continue to have, more honors and awards. He will be eligible for enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the 2024 class. He is widely expected to be a first-ballot hall of famer.
In his 21-year NBA career, all with the Mavericks, he averaged 20.7 points and 7.5 rebounds.
His 31,560 total points remain sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.