You know who he is, whether you are an American, European or Asian. If you are interested to the NBA, you know the “German Wunderkind”. Dirk Werner Nowitzki was born in Würzburg, Germany and became the ninth Pick of the 1998 NBA Draft. The 213 cm tall player nearly revolutionized the basketball game of sized players. There might be no other player in the world with his size that has Dirk’s ranged shooting skills. Today, at 34 years, Dirk has already scored more than 25000 points in his career and already reached the 17th best all-time scorer in NBA-History. Several nominations for the all-star-team, one season MVP and one play-offs MVP underline the superior class of Dirk. But all that counts in the NBA are “rings”. In 2011 Dirk led the Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA championship and earned the reward for his long struggle for success and is nowadays a promising future hall-of-famer.
His career and his personal milestones were noticed in Germany. He is still responsible for the ongoing basketball hype in Germany. Together with Christopher Zane Kaman, aka Chris Kaman, Dirk Nowitzki has played for the German national team. Chris Kaman was born in the USA, but as a grand-child of a German he acquired German citizenship. Chris Kaman is a solid center player who has played in several NBA team, as the LA Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, Dallas Mavericks and nowadays the LA Lakers. Chris has been nominated once for the NBA all-star-team. He has not become as famous as Dirk but is a much valued role player in his team.
2013 has been a good year for German basketball players. Three additional players have managed to get NBA contracts. The most promising newcomer is Dennis Schröder. The 19-years old point guard from Braunschweig applied for the NBA Draft this year. It is still hard for foreign players to establish themselves in the NBA. But he convinced the General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks in the summer league and was picked at the 17th place in the first round. The two other players Tim Ohlbrecht, a center player and Elias Harris, a forward struggled in the development league. Both were already too old for a good draft pick. So, the two mid-twenties decided to show their skills in the recruiting league, the D-League. At the Beginning of 2013 a shocking decision of the Houston Rockets threatened to destroy the dreams on Tim Ohlbrecht. He just had been recruited and was waived by the rockets, when the All-Star Dwight Howard signed to the rockets. There was no chance to exist near to this top center player. In the end he signed a contract at the Philadelphia 76ers and is looking forward to his first NBA season as a role player for a NBA team. A similar development was shown by Elias Harris. After he performance well in the D-League this year, the LA Lakers has offered him a contract as a role player.
All three rookies were criticized this year. They declined the nomination for the German national team for the European championship. But the German Basketball Association (DBB) understands their special and trendsetting situation and let them train in the States to become strong enough for the best basketball league in the NBA.
The 28th of October will be important for these rookies, because then the roster of all NBA team will be fix for the new season. At this point we will know how many Germans will play in the NBA. Furthermore, it will be very interesting to see who will follow Dirk Nowitzki on the road of success for German basketball players in the NBA.
You Tube links for the blog
Follow Dirk from his beginning in the 1st German basketball league until his achievement to reach the first NBA championship title in the franchise history of the Dallas Mavericks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cM3JDKcesk
See the draft rating of Dennis Schröder (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koDAqCWjIcw) and his achievement got picked in the first round during the NBA Draft 2013 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtSKfgpGjVg).
See Chris Kaman. His special is a strong defence with a solid offence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gYG0cCUyU8
This piece was written by a member of Com Berlin’s English class. Check back soon to see more texts from other members of the class.