Top star stops in Germany: Luka Doncic and his Slovenians visit Munich on Sunday. Doncic is not only Nowitzki’s successor in Dallas, but also a good friend of the German.
Munich – Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic, who might as well be father and son, played together for one year with the Dallas Mavericks. But it was enough to create a rivalry between the Texans old and new that has lasted to this day.
When Nowitzki, now 44, was with his mother-in-law in Sweden in June, he wanted to watch 23-year-old basketball star Doncic live in World Cup qualifying. And when the Swedish crowd roared “overrated” (overrated), Nowitzki immediately joined in – and laughed his head off.
There will be more matches in the coming weeks because Doncic has arrived in Germany. Before the EC – where Nowitzki is an ambassador – starts on Thursday with the games in Cologne and Berlin, on Sunday (15.00 / Magentasport) there is still a direct duel in the World Cup qualifiers. Germany can almost clinch a ticket to 2023 with a win. Doncic will have to lead Slovenia to another victory because he will not be available for the November and February qualifying periods due to the NBA calendar.
Nowitzki: “Doncic just a ripped kid”
Nowitzki is impressed with his successor. “He’s just a goofy kid. It’s amazing how he does everything when his young person is surrounded by fame and hype. On the pitch, it’s incredible how he already reads the game,” said Würzburger of the German press office. Nowitzki is an advisor to the Mavericks and regularly sees his former club’s games, where Doncic is now just the outstanding figure Nowitzki used to be.
Doncic himself was the center of attention early on. At the age of 16 he played for Real Madrid, at the age of 18 he was already in the main role in Slovenia and became the European champion at the age of 19 when he joined the NBA. Nothing came too soon for a defensive player with a safe long shot and strong physique, Doncic was always ahead of his peers. Today, he is one of the best basketball players in the world. He says confidently about his goals at the European Championships: “We are going to Germany to win gold. It doesn’t matter where we compete, first place is always our goal.”
Players like Doncic, the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) or the Serbian Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) are attracted to the European Championships. But the Germans must first get past such stars in order to reach their self-imposed medal target. Even Nowitzki, who knows Doncic very well, can’t offer much advice against the star player. “Everybody in the NBA knows his game, but it’s still almost impossible to stop him because he’s so good and he’s got the body for it. I don’t really know if my tips are having any effect,” the ex-pro said.