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BASKETBALL

Nowitzki pulls out of world basketball championships

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has opted out of playing for Germany in next month's world championships in Turkey in order to focus on preparing with his club for the new NBA season.

Nowitzki pulls out of world basketball championships
Photo: DPA

“I have signed a new contract with the Dallas Mavericks,” said the 32-year-old forward in a statement published by the German basketball federation on Tuesday.

“We have a new team with new conditions and I want to set my focus on the next NBA season this summer.”

Nowitzki, a nine-time NBA All Star who first played for the Milwaukee Bucks back in 1998, has, however, made himself available for next year’s European championships to try to help Germany win a place in the 2012 Olympics in London.

“Next year, I will help the team reach our big goal to participate at the Olympics again,” said Nowitzki whose new four-year deal with the Mavericks, signed on Monday, is worth $80-million.

Germany are sure to miss the seven-foot tall (2.13m) Nowitski who led them to bronze in the 2002 world championships and silver in the 2005 European championships.

“I take Dirk’s decisions with mixed feelings”, said Germany head coach Dirk Bauermann. “We will of course miss Dirk in our squad.”

“You can’t replace a player like him. But we already know now that Dirk will be on board to fight for the tickets to the Olympic Games next year in Lithuania. I completely respect Dirk’s decision.”

Bauermann will now be concerned about whether fellow NBA star Chris Kamen of the Los Angeles Clippers follows suit.

On Monday, Russian international forward Andrei Kirilenko, who is playing with NBA side Utah Jazz, announced his decision to miss the world championships.

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OFFBEAT

Turkish fans brawl at wheelchair match in Germany

A mass brawl at a wheelchair basketball match in Germany between supporters of Turkish clubs Galatasaray and Besiktas left seven fans needing hospital treatment, police have confirmed.

Turkish fans brawl at wheelchair match in Germany
A file picture of an unrelated wheelchair basketball match. Photo: DPA

The fight erupted on Saturday afternoon during the Champions Cup game when around 60 supporters from the two clubs attacked each other using knives and baseball bats in the sports hall in Zwickau, near Chemnitz, but there were no serious injuries.

“The game had to be abandoned and seven fans were taken to nearby hospitals. Six of them were released after receiving treatment,” said a police spokesman in a statement.

A bus-load of around 50 supporters left the sports hall immediately after the fighting broke out and were briefly detained by police near Erfurt, which is 120 kilometres west of Zwickau, while their bus was searched.

Police are investigating.

This is not the first time violence has broken out between fans of the rival Turkish clubs, who are both based in Istanbul, at a wheelchair basketball match.

In 2012, 10 supporters were arrested after a clash during a game in Istanbul when fans sprayed fire extinguishers at each other and police used tear gas to break up the fighting on the basketball court.