Germany's national team retired Dirk Nowitzki's No. 14 jersey on Thursday. The ceremony took place at Cologne Arena, before Germany's game against France at EuroBasket 2022.
Nowitzki first played at EuroBasket in 1999. He was 21 years old, coming off his first season in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks. He retired from the national team after representing Germany at EuroBasket 2015. In between, he spent portions of almost every offseason playing for Germany. He led the team to a bronze medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championship, at EuroBasket 2005 and a berth at the 2008 Olympic Games, its first since 1992. At those Olympics, Nowitzki was Germany's flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
Nowitzki's jersey went up to the rafters shortly after Slovenia defeated Lithuania, which meant that Luka Doncic, the heir to , could watch from a courtside seat. Doncic sat with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, president Nico Harrison, vice president Michael Finley and coach Jason Kidd.
During his speech, Nowitzki thanked Cuban for having "always supported me in playing every summer," via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News:
Here’s part of Dirk Nowitzki’s thank you to Mark Cuban, the only part of his speech in English.— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) September 1, 2022
There were a whole lotta Mavs highlights, specifically from the championship and his last home game, during the pre-speech montage. pic.twitter.com/SX6sFUFQbQ
Cuban himself recorded the jersey being raised:
In related news, on Wednesday the Cologne Chocolate Museum honored Nowitzki with a bust made out of chocolate, via Marc Stein: