Dirk Nowitzki has preliminary permission from Mavericks for EuroBasket 2015

11m ago

Back in 2011, playing for the German national team for the first time since the 2008 Olympics, Dirk Nowitzki came up short of his goal: the Germans did not qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

Since then, Nowitzki has been absent from the national program, choosing instead to focus on rest and preparation as he rolls through his twilight years at a higher level than anyone would have expected. Next summer, at age 37, he'll look to avenge the 2011 failure by suiting up for Germany at EuroBasket 2015, with 2016 Olympics berths on the line.

"Yes," Nowitzki told German newspaper SportBild this week when asked if he had permission for the European Championships next year.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been outspoken against player participation in international competition, but it's certainly possible that after 16 seasons, and with a new team-friendly contract signed, Nowitzki has called in a favor. The year 2016 will mark his final chance to suit up for Olympic competition, something he's done only once, in 2008, the country's only berth since 1992.

Germany is currently ranked 18th by FIBA. A top-two finish at EuroBasket would guarantee an Olympics berth in 2016, while a strong showing is requisite for a berth in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which takes place shortly before the Olympics.

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Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Sept 9, 5:48 PM

German coach: Dirk Nowitzki would consider 2016 Olympics

Sept 9, 5:48 PM

It's been assumed for some time that 36-year old Dirk Nowitzki was likely done with international basketball competition. The time commitment and physical toll often preclude older players from participating, and Nowitzki will be 38 at the time of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

However, the coach of Germany's national team, Frank Menz, said Monday that Nowitzki would consider playing if the German team looked capable of making a run.

Whether that means playing in qualifying tournaments or strictly in the Olympic tournament itself is unclear, though it's unlikely the Germans could qualify without the 7-footer.

Germany was eliminated from the FIBA European Championship on Monday but will have multiple chances to qualify for the Olympics. The 2015 European Championships and a world qualifying tournament both decided qualifying teams for the 2012 Games, and the process will likely be similar for 2016.