Dennis Schröder and Co. are well on their way to matching the basketball successes of the Nowitzki era. The retired legend becomes a fan in row one on the Japanese island.
With a broad grin, Dirk Nowitzki makes himself comfortable in the front row of the World Cup arena.
The German basketball icon is currently following the games in Okinawa like a fan – above all, of course, those of his own national team, which is now being led by his successor and captain Dennis Schröder. Nowitzki and Schröder greeted each other warmly on the floor, but briefly. There was initially no cabin visit to the victorious EM third on the Japanese dream island.
No wonder, because Schröder and Co. left the arena soon after the impressive 85:82 coup against Australia and met as a team for dinner to celebrate Franz Wagner’s birthday. “Of course it’s a huge honor that he’s here. It’s cool that he came to the game and supported us,” said Schröder on Monday after training in a very compact school gym. The 29-year-old wore a black cap and looked relaxed after the perfect start to the World Cup with two victories.
Wagner use still open
On Tuesday (9.30 a.m. / Magentasport) this should be continued against the previously winless Finns and NBA professional Lauri Markkanen. Whether Franz Wagner would return after his ankle injury remained open before the match day. “He’s getting better. He moves, he throws, he can run a bit,” said national coach Gordon Herbert. He put the chances of a bet at 50:50. The young Wagner will be needed in the course of the tournament to build on the bronze medal at the European Championships last year – and thus also on the successes of the Nowitzki era.
The times are hardly comparable. At that time, superstar Nowitzki often acted as a solo entertainer who was simply constantly fed the ball. In the meantime, a team supported by Schröder has developed, which is strongly defined by team spirit. Significantly more German professionals are now playing in the NBA.
The sport has developed in Germany, as has the national team. “Dirk was the go-to guy back then, we have several people now with Dennis and Franz. You can’t win with just one or two players. You need the team around you and the coach and that’s what makes us so strong “said Daniel Theis.
Mo Wagner: Don’t appreciate Dennis Schröder enough
The 31-year-old was criticized by Nowitzki’s last tournament in 2015 because he did not play at the European Championship and then played preparatory games for his club during the period in question. When asked whether there had already been talks with or congratulations from Nowitzki in Okinawa, Theis said briefly and without further explanation in a media round after training: “No.” Questions about the 45-year-old Nowitzki, who has not been active since 2019, currently also feel like questions that are not about the current team.
The next generation is emancipating itself and is on the way to repeating the sporting successes of the 2000s. Back then, Nowitzki and his team won a medal at the World and European Championships as well as an Olympic start. In just a few weeks, Schröder and Co. could draw level at the finals in Manila. Even goals like a big title or an Olympic medal, which weren’t achieved at the time, don’t seem out of the question. And in his team, Schröder now enjoys a status similar to that of Nowitzki back then.
“We don’t appreciate Dennis enough as a German basketball country. The guy gets better every year,” said Moritz Wagner. How much the team is currently busy with itself and its own wave of success at the World Cup was best seen with head coach Herbert after the easy session on Monday. He didn’t even see Nowitzki live in the hall, only the following day – while studying the video images to prepare for Finland.
I am Pierce Boyd, a driven and ambitious professional working in the news industry. I have been writing for 24 Hours Worlds for over five years, specializing in sports section coverage. During my tenure at the publication, I have built an impressive portfolio of articles that has earned me a reputation as an experienced journalist and content creator.