Dirk Nowitzki

Twitter: @Simone_Biles

Simone Biles meets 7-footer Dirk Nowitzki (photos)

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Simone Biles, at 4-foot-8, was the shortest U.S. athlete in Rio.

Proving that Olympians come in all shapes and sizes, Biles has posted multiple photos on social media standing next to 6-foot-8 U.S. volleyball player David Lee.

But Biles explored new heights when she recently posted a photo with Dirk Nowitzki, a 7-foot basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks.

Biles, a five-time Olympic gymnastics medalist, attended a Mavericks practice while in Dallas for a USA Gymnastics tour of shows.

Nowitzki played for Germany at the 2008 Olympics.

MORE: Simone Biles discusses her future

Kristaps Porzingis could play in Rio Olympics; Dirk Nowitzki won’t

Dirk Nowitzki, Kristaps Porzingis
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New York Knicks star rookie Kristaps Porzingis could play in the Rio Games, but Dirk Nowitzki will not, after FIBA announced the final three teams, among 18 overall, for Olympic last-chance qualifying tournaments in July.

A total of 15 teams had already qualified to be split among the three, six-team tournaments, via continental events last year.

The final three would be determined by which nations FIBA selected to host each last-chance qualifier. FIBA could have selected from among already-qualified nations, opening up spots for the top-ranked non-qualified nations, or nations not already qualified.

On Tuesday, FIBA announced that the three tournament hosts would be Italy, the Philippines and Serbia.

Italy, the Philippines and Serbia previously qualified for the last-chance tournaments, meaning Porzingis’ Latvia, 1992 Olympic silver medalist Croatia and Turkey were invited to round out the group of 18 teams fighting for three Olympic berths.

Nowitzki’s Germany, which was heartbreakingly eliminated in EuroBasket group play, was one of two nations among the six finalists to host the three tournaments that had not previously qualified for the last-chance qualifiers. Turkey was the other.

Neither nation was named a host, but Turkey ended up getting in anyway due to its world ranking (No. 8) and/or round of 16 finish at EuroBasket.

The winners of each of the last-chance qualifying tournaments will round out the Olympic men’s basketball field, which already has nine of its 12 teams.

Porzingis, 20 and the No. 4 overall draft pick, did not play for Latvia at EuroBasket in September, one month before the start of his maiden NBA season. He previously played for Latvia’s youth national team.

Nowitzki, 37 and a 13-time NBA All-Star, led Germany at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, shaving the Olympic rings into the side of his hair and carrying his nation’s flag into the Opening Ceremony. The Germans went 1-4 and were eliminated in the group stage.

That was the only time Germany’s men’s basketball team has qualified for the Games since 1992.

MORE BASKETBALL: Kobe Bryant will not play in Rio

*A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Lebanon received a berth in the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournaments rather than Turkey.

Dirk Nowitzki, Germany suffer heartbreaking loss in bid to KO Spain from Olympic qualifying

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Dirk Nowitzki and Germany nearly eliminated two-time reigning Olympic silver medalist Spain from Olympic men’s basketball qualifying, falling 77-76 at EuroBasket in Berlin on Thursday.

The Germans rallied from deficits of 13 points with 6:37 left and seven points with 56 seconds left of the group-play game that ended up being an elimination game.

The winner would advance to the European Olympic qualifying tournament round of 16. The loser would not only be done at EuroBasket, but also not finish in third through seventh place overall, which is necessary for an automatic berth in the global, last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament in July.

The top two at EuroBasket earn spots in the 12-team 2016 Olympic basketball tournament.

Down 77-74 on Thursday, Germany and Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroeder was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with three seconds left. He made the first two free throws but missed the third that would have likely sent the game to overtime.

The loss is widely viewed as Dirk Nowitzki‘s final international game, though Germany could be awarded one of three wild-card places in the global, last-chance tournament in July by FIBA.

Preference for those wild-card places is expected to be given to higher-placing teams in continental Olympic qualifiers, though. Germany’s finish outside the top 16 in EuroBasket will not help its case, if it makes one.

This asterisk is why a Spain loss to Germany might not have derailed its Olympic hopes entirely, and why reigning Olympic bronze medalist Russia may also get a second chance to qualify for Rio after it was eliminated in EuroBasket group play.

Nowitzki, 37, led Germany at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where it failed to reach the quarterfinals in its only Olympic appearance since 1992. Nowitzki memorably shaved the Olympic rings into the side of his hair before the Games and carried the German flag in the Opening Ceremony.

After the game, Nowitzki was given a standing ovation by the Berlin arena crowd (video here).

Spain survived and advanced without four of its star NBA players — Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Serge Ibaka and Jose Calderon — all sitting out EuroBasket for various reasons but who could return for the Rio Olympics. Its only stalwart on the EuroBasket roster is Pau Gasol.

Spain’s road to Olympic qualification at EuroBasket will not get easier. It is in the same half of the knockout bracket as undefeated France, whose roster includes NBA players Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert.

Spain and France could meet in the semifinals next Thursday with the winner receiving an Olympic berth and the loser forced to the global, last-chance qualifying tournament in July.

France beat Spain 65-52 in the 2014 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals, a tournament won by the U.S. to clinch the first Rio 2016 Olympic berth. Brazil, Australia and Nigeria have since been added to the Olympic field, with two more teams to join them from FIBA Americas on Friday.

The other half of the EuroBasket round of 16 bracket includes reigning World silver medalist Serbia and Lithuania, a traditional power that finished fourth at Worlds in 2014.

EuroBasket schedule and standings are available here.

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