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Nowitzki joins Germany for Euro championships

Nowitzki joins Germany for Euro championships
Photo: DPA

Dirk Nowitzki, whose MVP heroics helped Dallas Mavericks win the NBA title, will play for Germany at the European championships, hoping to lead his country to the 2012 Olympics.

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"The break was rather short but I want to help my young national team succeed at Euro 2011. I will try to be in my best shape," said Nowitzki. His decision boosts Germany's chances of qualifying for the Olympics.

Nowitzki's participation had been in question, because it means the 33-year-old playmaker will only have had only a two-week holiday before he begins training again. He won the NBA Finals with the Dallas Mavericks on June 12.

German national team coach Dirk Bauermann was overjoyed at Nowitzki's decision. "This is the most sensational and fantastic thing that I have ever witnessed from an athlete," he told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper.

"I can't think of any reason why he would do this to himself. But that he's doing this for our young players shows what qualities Dirk has," he said.

The two finalists at the August 31 to September 18 European event in Lithuania will qualify automatically for the Olympics with the third to sixth-place finishers going into a qualifying tournament.

AFP/The Local/bk

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