DM: What did you think of the team’s trip to Rio? Obviously a great trip from the business side of things and a chance to go down to Rio, a booming market to build that Orlando Magic brand down there, but also from a team standpoint an opportunity to bond and to grow. RH: It was a great trip Dante, it really was. From start to finish, certainly the business component that you speak of was very important to us. We have a lot of fans down in Brazil and we’re hoping to continue to expand that awareness and that footprint. I think we were able to do that. And also, from a team perspective, we got a lot of good work in. It’s funny, I think it was 95 degrees in the gym we practiced in for two days, which sort of made it like an old-school high school practice. I think guys got good work in and they got to sweat it out a little bit. Certainly, when you take a trip like that, I think the guys, the players, have a chance to spend more time together than they otherwise maybe would, just because they’re forced to [laughs]. And so, from a team bonding and a team chemistry standpoint, I would say we come back to Orlando more bonded than we were when we left.
And a couple years after playing in a preseason game with the Wizards in Brazil, he was given the start against Bauru, a team based in his native state of Sao Paulo. “It was an honor,” Nene said. “We were talking about when we were little, we never imagined that kind of opportunity was going to happen. To see a Brazilian team play against an NBA team is a big honor. Not only to myself, who represents Brazil, but to the [Brazilian] nation, players, the confederation.”
By virtue of their early exit here, the Germans cannot qualify directly for Rio 2016. However a recent, belated change to the process to obtain berths in Brazil next summer means that any country taking part in the current round of continental championships can bid to host -– and participate in — one of the three Olympic Qualification Tournaments, to take place early next summer. And with the German Federation understood to be considering a bid, the presumption that this was Nowitzki’s farewell may be mis-placed.
“I thought so,” the former NBA MVP told reports in Berlin. “But now, I’ve heard that there is a chance to get a wild card to host a pre-Olympic tournament. “So we’ll just have to wait to see, or come back together next summer and talk about it. But for me, in my head, at the end, that was it. That’s why I got emotional. I was exhausted, I left it all out there and we couldn’t come through, so it was very disappointing.”