After Saturday's game at New Jersey, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban essentially informed a small contingent of foreign reporters, including one or two from France, that he'll ban french fries at American Airlines Center before he gives Roddy Beaubois his blessing to return to the French national team this summer for Olympic qualifying.
Beaubois, as everybody knows, fractured his left foot in August preparing for the World Championships and he has yet to suit up for a highly anticipated season with the Mavs. Cuban is no fan of international basketball, and for valid reasons. He pays his players millions of dollars and doesn't want to see them break a foot or twist an ankle, or worse, for love of country.
Dirk Nowitzki has appeased his boss by taking the last two summers off after leading Germany to the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Nowitzki proudly carried his country's flag as the leader of the German contingent during the Opening Ceremonies. It was a heartwarming moment to be sure because it was so obvious how much Nowitzki cherished the opportunity to compete and represent his countrymen on the world's largest sporting stage.
That's why he wants to do it again.
And that means playing this summer in the 2011 Olympic qualifying events. In typical Nowitzki fashion, the 32-year-old doesn't want this so much to put yet another feather in his cap, but so the next generation of German ballers can live the Olympic dream as well.
"I know one thing, the Olympics were an amazing experience and we have a young team with Germany again," Nowitzki said. "For some of these young kids it would be an amazing experience as well. You know, it is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. That would be something I would want those kids to experience."
Teams can't hold their players out of international competition -- it has to be the player's decision -- but teams certainly can encourage them one way or the other. Nowitzki said there's only one thing that will keep him from helping Germany qualify this summer -- the right knee he sprained on Dec. 27. Nowitzki said he's in full agreement with Cuban with regards to Beaubois' situation. And he said his own health at the end of the season will dictate his decision.
"The team is first," Nowitzki said. "That's why I was always allowed to play because I was never really hurt. I never missed major time during the season, so definitely that was a plus for me. I have to get back on track with the Mavs first."