Dirk Nowitzki, the German forward who led the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA title, delights home audience with German grit, American glamour.
David J. Phillip/AP
Mr. Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks power forward who hasn’t played for a German club in 13 years, is on every front page and leading most news bulletins today in Germany. Sure, it's a public holiday here (Pentecost) and not much else is happening. But Nowtizki is a bona fide national sports hero in a country that currently ranks 12th on the FIBA list of best national teams.
Germans are passionate about sport, but only soccer can be described as a national sport in the way basketball, baseball, and football are in the US.
The soccer World Cup and the European Championships bring the country to a standstill, the nation glued to TV sets and giant screens in public squares.
The FIBA basketball world championships will practically go unnoticed.
I polled neighbors and family members. Not a single person could name the current German basketball champions (Brose Baskets Bamberg).