A new basketball powerhouse emerged on Sunday night as Germany, which had spent multiple years in irrelevance following the retirement of NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki, reached the pinnacle of the sport by winning the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
The Mannschaft, coming off a significant victory over the tournament favorite Team USA, defeated the European powerhouse Serbia 83-77 to claim its first-ever gold medal on the grandest stage of the sport.
Germany concluded their magical FIBA World Cup campaign with a perfect 8-0 record, defeating teams like Slovenia, Australia, Latvia, and the formidable Team USA along the way.
For Franz Wagner, their dominant performance on the world stage signifies one thing and one thing only – German basketball has arrived and is here to stay.
“We’re here, and we’re here to stay. You know we can still get better, and we’re going to be here for a while,” said Wagner, who contributed 19 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and two assists in the final.
Prior to this historic victory, the Mannschaft struggled to make a mark in the FIBA World Cup. Germany finished eighth in 2006 before dropping to 17th place in the 2010 edition. Things took a turn for the worse as the Germans missed the 2014 FIBA World Cup before making a return in 2019, only to finish 18th.
However, all of that is now in the past. In only the second year of a two-year plan implemented by head coach Gordie Herbert, the Mannschaft finally reached the pinnacle of the sport, which is second only to football in the hearts of their countrymen.
With this achievement, Wagner hopes that Germany’s momentous win in the FIBA World Cup will inspire more children to take up the sport and continue the legacy they started on this historic night.
“It’s going to be a huge party, for sure. We’re going to enjoy this one. Not just today, but in the next couple of weeks. It’s just cool to be part of this movement in Germany. Hopefully, we can see more development, more kids playing basketball in Germany,” said the rising star of the Orlando Magic.
“We need more televised basketball in Germany, so I’m a huge advocate of that. We should show more live basketball at home so that more people get exposed to the sport.”