Ex-German national team and NBA superstar Dirk Nowitzki was last weekend revealed as a global ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.
Nowitzki becomes the third global sporting icon to be named an ambassador of the first-ever 32-team World Cup, joining Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant.
Nowitzki has had an illustrious playing career for Germany and consistently was a star performer at FIBA competitions for the better part of two decades (1999-2015).
In 2002, he led his country to its best-ever result at the World Cup, a third-place finish – the nation’s only medal/podium at the world level (World Cup and Olympic Games). He was named the tournament’s MVP and was its top scorer, averaging 24 points a game.
Three years later, Nowitzki spearheaded Germany’s run to the Final of FIBA EuroBasket 2005 before they eventually had to settle for second place behind Greece.
The following year, the 7ft (2.13m) forward registered his best-ever individual scoring performance for the national team in an official game as he poured in 47 points in a 108-103 overtime win over Angola during the Group Phase of the 2006 World Cup in Japan.
In 2008, he led Germany to the Final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, thereby securing the country’s place in the Olympic Basketball Tournament at the Beijing Games and ending a 16-year absence from the Olympics. He served as the flagbearer for Germany’s delegation during the Opening Ceremony in the Bird’s Nest.