The first gold medal in 17 years marks the beginning of German basketball. After the exhilarating EM celebrations with goose bumps in Cologne and Berlin, Dennis Schröder and Co. Not afraid of international competition.
Mr. Schröder said “If we have everyone together, we are hard to beat. This summer, the NBA promoter rejected all his critics and finally took the role of basketball leader Dirk Nowitzki.
After the 82:69 win over Poland, Schröder and Nowitzki celebrated third place with other bronze heroes around Andreas Obst. In the lobby of the team’s hotel on Lützowufer, the giants of Germany around Schröder and Franz Wagner, who played fiercely, victory in the evening, which a week ago hardly thought possible.
Nowitzki is always close at hand as an EM ambassador and sees a bright future for German basketball. Nowitzki said in his analysis of the European Championship at MagentaSport: “The top players are still young. There are many. Some are not there because of injuries. In Maximilian Kleber, Moritz Wagner and Isaiah Hartenstein, three other elite players from the NBA can join the main this year.
In 2005 Nowitzki led the German team to silver in Serbia – the last precious metal until Sunday. “The boys really rewarded themselves for a great tournament. They really deserved it,” said Nowitzki.
“One of the most special moments”
The relatively shaky success against Poland meanwhile also consoled the German team after the bitterness of the quarter-finals by the eventual European champions Spain two days ago. “After the win against Greece, we feel we can do more,” said national team coach Gordon Herbert, who coached the team to an immediate podium finish in its first major tournament. “It’s the most special moment of my life. Having a baby is number one, but it’s the most special.”
Herbert flew to his family in Finland on Monday morning to recover from a brutal week with many difficulties, but in the end there were more highlights. But even in the catacombs of the Berlin Arena at the Ostbahnhof, Herbert was looking ahead. “If you look at successful national teams, they’ve been together for a long time before they were successful. We’re just getting started with this group,” the 63-year-old Canadian said.
When he took office, Herbert announced a three-year plan. After the success in the European Championship, now the focus is on the World Cup in Japan, In Indonesia and the Philippines next year and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Schröder, who was rightly voted into the all-star team of the European championship after his strong performance, “We have a lot of quality in this dressing room – not only NBA players, but also experts in the Euroleague.
“Hopefully it’s the beginning of many years,” said NBA professional Daniel Theis, who fought his way through rehabilitation despite knee problems in order to be there in the European competition in his own country. “It shows how much they mean to play for Germany,” Herbert said.
Call the upcoming international level without NBA players
When the national team coach calls his squad back for their next international tournament in November in World Cup qualifiers against Finland (Nov. 10) and Slovenia (Nov. 13), most of the bronze medalists will be absent. The frenzy of competition in international basketball ensures that players who work in the NBA cannot be there. Euroleague players are also at risk of being suspended due to concussions.
But they all want to come back next summer. “I’m definitely in the mood,” said Franz Wagner, who, after a strong debut season in the NBA during the European Championship, took another big step forward and is about to have a great career in the United States. “Franz will lead this national team, he has an incredible character,” praised Schröder, who wants to continue wearing the shirt with the eagle on the chest. “I’ll be here until I can’t walk anymore.”
They should work together to create a special basketball this summer, in which Schröder and Co. played into the hearts of German sports fans, and even attracted the broadcaster, RTL, to return to free TV. “I think we made basketball sexy again in Germany,” said Schröder.
Copyright © dpa/Lars Reinefeld, Patrick Reichardt, dpa – German Press Agency 2022