Tuesday, June 14, 2011

GERMANY Celebrates DIRK the NBA 2011 MVP


BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany's soccer filled newspapers were celebrating rare basketball success on Tuesday after countryman Dirk Nowitzki became the first German to win an NBA title when his Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat.
"This is the title that we were missing," read the front page of the best-selling Bild newspaper on Tuesday, which usually reserves a front page sports story almost exclusively for the country's soccer exploits.

The paper placed his victory on par with Germany's first soccer World Cup win in 1954, boxer Max Schmeling's world title, tennis player Boris Becker's first Wimbledon title in 1985 and German cyclist Jan Ullrich's Tour de France victory in 1997.
Mavericks forward Nowitzki, who averaged 26 points per game in the finals was named the Most Valuable Player of the series after his team clinched their first championship with a 4-2 win over the Heat in the best-of-seven NBA finals on Monday.

Basketball in the past had briefly enjoyed a higher status in Germany especially after the country won the European crown in 1993 but has since been again relegated to a sideshow.
The Mavericks' win early on Monday morning German time quickly thrust the sport back into the spotlight with congratulations pouring in from the country's sports leaders, including Germany's national soccer team coach Joachim Loew.
"He completed an amazing performance," Loew told reporters. "He is exceptional and one of Germany's top sportsmen. The title win is the cherry on top of a stunning basketball career in the United States."

The few bars showing the match early on Monday morning local time in Berlin were packed with fans eager to see a victory for Nowitzki after 13 years in the NBA.
In Belushi's pub, a giant projector screen usually dedicated to soccer matches generated cheers in the crowd every time Dallas won a point or rebound.
"He made it! The first and the last NBA title for a German player," said Jakob Jordan, 28. "I usually watch soccer, but it was worth the late night to see this final."
A crowd of about 100 was shouting "MVP " and "Dirk" as they poured out into the street at sunrise after the win.

(Additional reporting by Brian Rohan in Berlin)
(Writing by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Patrick Johnston)

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