Regardless of the Herculian efforts he had to put forth in winning the first NBA title of his career, Dirk Nowitzki may still have more basketball to play this year. From ESPN: “After a long, long season, one side is the rest factor and going strong into next season,’ said Nowitzki, a 13-year NBA veteran who turned 33 on Sunday. ‘On the other side is obviously my national team that’s been good to me.’ The German national team needs to finish in the top six of 24 teams at the EuroBasket tournament, which begins on Aug. 31, to have a chance to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. The German team will begin training in the middle of July, giving Nowitzki a deadline for his decision. Over the last decade, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has repeatedly expressed his reluctance about NBA players participating in international tournaments. Nowitzki did not play for Germany the last two summers due to a mutual agreement he made with Cuban, who declined comment when contacted Tuesday by ESPNDallas.com. Nowitzki ranks playing in the 2008 Olympics, when he was his country’s flag bearer during the opening ceremonies, alongside beating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals among the highlights of his career. He has not played international basketball since then. ‘I basically told them I was going to rejoin them and help them get to the Olympics one more time,’ Nowitzki said. ‘I made my dream, going to the Olympics, and a lot of the team is new now. We’ve got a lot of young guys and they haven’t been there. A lot of the old guys basically retired after the last Olympic run, so I told them I was going to help a lot of the young guys reach their dream as well. That was my goal the last three years, obviously not knowing that [the Mavericks] would be playing until mid-June. I was hoping, but you never know.'”
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