‘Made it Seem Possible’: Orlando Magic Rookie Explains How Dirk Nowitzki is Like Michael Jordan for German Kids

Published 08/06/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
10 April 2019, US, Dallas: Basketball: NBA, Main Round, 81st Matchday, Dallas Mavericks – Phoenix Suns at Amercian Airlines Center. Marc Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Dirk Nowitzki after his last home game. Photo: Philipp Hülsmann/dpa (Photo by Philipp Hülsmann/picture alliance via Getty Images)


Unlike before, NBA players are coming up from all over the world. Before it was just USA players like Michael Jordan, but then players like Toni Kukoc and Dirk Nowitzki set the foundation for international players in the NBA. Now, the likes of Luka Doncic have taken the mantel and showcased their talent on the biggest stage.

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Yet another international player is now a part of the NBA family. The Orlando Magic selected Franz Wagner in the 2021 NBA draft. He will also hope to help raise the standards of international players in the NBA.

In a recent conversation, Wagner spoke about Dirk Nowitzki being the Michael Jordan of Germany and also being on the NBA 2K game.

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Wagner says Dirk Nowitzki is like Michael Jordan

Franz Wagner explained how Dirk Nowitzki winning the championship was a huge deal. In addition, he also spoke about how it was Dirk who allowed him to believe that he could make it to the NBA. Interestingly, Wagner also compared Dirk to Michael Jordan.

He said, “Dirk is like Michael Jordan for German kids. He made it seem possible to make it to the NBA. Not just make it, but also be a hall of fame type player. So, to see him win the championship, I still remember where I was at the time and stuff like that. It was a huge deal to everybody, and I think he made basketball in Germany a lot more important and relevant.”

Dirk definitely had a huge impact on international players. He proved that even they can come to the NBA and play at a high level. He is one of the few players to cross the 30000 point mark in his career. In addition, Dirk Nowitzki also won a title as a centerpiece for the Mavericks organization.

Wizards star Michael Jordan watches Denver’s Kenny Satterfield during the first period of last nights game between the Denver Nuggets and the Washington Wizards. (Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post) (Photo By Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

His championship run is one of the most talked-about as he defied all odds to win. Furthermore, Dirk has also won a regular-season MVP in 2007. He encouraged many international players into believing that they can also make it to the NBA. Nowitzki had a hall of fame career, playing for a single organization. He truly had a Michael Jordan kind of impact.

Who is Franz Wagner?

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The Orlando Magic selected Wagner 8th overall in the 2021 NBA draft. He is a 6’9 small forward who played for Michigan. He is a versatile player who mainly causes damage by spacing the floor. Wagner is an all-around offensive player shooting almost 46% of his field goals.

Dec 25, 2020; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Franz Wagner (21) attempts a shot over Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Dalano Banton (45) in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, he also has an elder brother in the NBA, Moritz Wagner. Moreover, Moritz also plays for the Orlando Magic. So, Franz has a great advantage as he can learn a lot from his brother while also having someone to hang out with.

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Magic got a lot good from the draft by having two of the Top 10 picks. They also added Jalen Suggs with the 5th overall pick in the draft. They have an exciting young core who could develop into stars in years to come. Do you think Franz Wagner will be a star one day?

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Anuj Talwalkar

286 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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