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Report: Dirk Nowitzki to play in EuroBasket 2015, which is 2016 Olympics qualifier

Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki

This report is factually wrong on this account: Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban cannot stop a healthy Dirk Nowitzki from playing for Germany.

We all know how Cuban feels about international competitions: It is a crime that players get to compete for their countries — unless he gets to profit from it. Cuban’s problem with international competition is that his players (namely Nowitzki) take risks, he has to pay them either way, and he doesn’t profit from said risks. There’s a valid capitalistic point there. He wants the NBA to run (or at least partner to run) international competitions.

But he can’t stop Nowitzki, and the star and anchor of his team plans to play next summer for EuroBasket and maybe in the 2016 Olympics for Germany, reports Deutsche Welle (via

According to reports from the German newspaper SportBild, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has given Germany’s NBA superstar Dirk Nowitzki permission to take part in basketball’s 2015 European Championships. After being asked whether he would be allowed to return to the national team, the 36-year-old Nowitzki answered with “Yes.”

At the European Championships, Germany will play their group games in Berlin, with the final rounds to be played in Lille, France. The tournament is focused on qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which is Nowitzki’s great goal.

Again, under current rules Cuban can’t stop a healthy Nowitzki.

But the relationship between the two is such that Cuban and Nowitzki likely discussed this and came to an understanding. Cuban may not like it but he understands the passion and importance to Nowitzki to play for his country. Nowitzki understands Cuban’s concerns and doesn’t abuse this privilege.

Germany qualifying for the Olympics, even with Nowitzki, is far from a sure thing. Only 12 teams get in the Olympic tournament (half of that from the just completed World Cup) and only the top two teams from EuroBasket get to qualify. A couple other teams from that tournament will get invites to the pre-Olympics qualifying tournament (three teams out of that get into the big dance).

(BTW: The USA qualified for the Rio games with its World Cup win last week.)

In 2013 EuroBasket Germany didn’t even get out of group play and finished 17th. That was without Nowitzki. The question is how big a difference he can make alone, but he has set getting Germany to Rio as a goal and he’s going to go forward with it.