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Friday, February 17, 2012
Dirk Nowitzki calls trip home 'long overdue'

By Jeff Caplan

Dirk Nowitzki heard the news that the Dallas Mavericks will play two preseason games next October in Europe, one in Berlin in his home country of Germany and another in Barcelona.

The Mavs and the league have not yet made it official and dates are not set, however a source has confirmed the trip. Nowitzki, who has long hoped for the Mavs to be included in the NBA's international preseason schedule, sounded like he might not actually believe it until Mark Cuban personally tells him so.

"If that’s really the case, I think it’s awesome. I think it’s been long overdue," Nowitzki said. "A couple years ago there was a game in Kolnarena [in Cologne, Germany] where Phoenix played Philly and everyone was like, 'Where are the Mavs at?' So, it’s been disappointing to see all these teams go over there and play and we were never a part of it. I think it’s going to be great."

For years, the league has wanted the Mavs to travel overseas, but Cuban has consistently been reluctant to do so because he didn't believe the difficult travel during training camp was especially beneficial.

"I asked him why are we never a part of it," said Nowitzki, now in his 14th NBA season. "He said he doesn’t like the travel and he loses a preseason game basically. Those were his reasons and I understood."

But now Cuban doesn't have the option to decline. The league changed the rules and so Nowitzki will finally play a game in front of family and friends in a Mavs uniform on his home soil.

Read more here about Nowitzki's reaction.