PARIS, May 16 (Xinhua) — FIBA Thursday revealed former German national team and NBA superstar Dirk Nowitzki as a global ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.
Nowitzki joins Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant to become the third former star basketballer to be named an ambassador of the first-ever 32-team World Cup.
Nowitzki has had an illustrious playing career for Germany from 1999 to 2015. In 2002, he led Germany to a third-place finish at the World Cup (formerly known as the World Championship), its best ever result and the nation’s only podium finish at the World Cup or Olympic Games. Finishing an average of 24 points as its top scorer, he was named the MVP of the tournament.
Nowitzki spearheaded Germany’s run to the final of FIBA EuroBasket 2005 before losing to Greece.
“I’m very excited to become an ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. It’s an honor to join Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant, some of my contemporaries and biggest rivals, in taking up this prestigious role,” said Nowitzki.
He will help to promote the World Cup by taking part in activities on the Road to China 2019 as well as being present at the competition.
“I have so many great memories of playing in basketball’s top competitions. Wearing the national team jersey and representing my country in FIBA competitions has always been a source of immense pride for me.
“Over the past two decades, I have personally seen the level of play in the international game evolve and grow. A World Cup with 32 teams can bring national team basketball to a level that has never been reached before and can be the most competitive event ever,” he added.
“It is a great privilege and honor for FIBA to have an icon like Dirk Nowitzki join Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant as a global ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China,” said FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis.
“Dirk has consistently held a leading role at top FIBA national team competitions, representing Germany with pride and commitment. He is among the very best players in the history of international basketball and we’re thrilled to have him be a part of the historic event that is China 2019,” added Zagklis.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 will be held in Chinese cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan from August 31 to September 15, the first time ever for the tournament to arrive at the world’s most populous country.