He is now looking forward to doing nothing and to "pizza and ice cream for breakfast". Dirk Nowitzki has truly earned it, 21 years has worked the now 40 -year-old in the NBA on his legendary status with the Dallas Mavericks. For the last home game, the icons of basketball gathered - from Scottie Pippen on Charles Barkley and Larry Bird to Detlef Schrempf to give the native Würzburg the appropriate departure.

Since 1999, he remained true to the Mavs, the back number 41 was his trademark, one should be surprised if this number will be awarded in the future in the club again. In 2011, he crowned his career with the championship title in the NBA, nominations for the Allstar team were almost the rule year after year. With Dirk Nowitzki is one of the greatest of the basketball.

But his fame extends far beyond the sport. Nowitzki ranks among the best of the best in the German sport, he is on equal terms with the superstars, with Steffi Graf, Michael Schumacher, Franz Beckenbauer. When it comes to enumerating the biggest in German sports, Nowitzki has a safe place there. The longest he is with 2.13 meters anyway.

We put together the gallery of the largest, best, most mythical, most successful athletes from Germany and created a subjective order. That's what it looks like, the SPIEGEL's Hall of Fame, which, along with Nowitzki, is the largest 19 athlete in the history of this country.

The top 20 German sports

1st place: Steffi Graf, tennis : 22 Grand Slam titles, plus the Golden Slam in 1988, a total of 107 tournament successes in singles, plus eleven double titles. Steffi Graf is a monument in tennis. She won her titles at a time when the competition was called Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Monica Seles and Martina Hingis. For 377 weeks she was number one in the world ranking. Unique numbers. It suits her how restrained she leads her after-tennis life.

2nd place: Michael Schumacher, Formula 1 : At the beginning of this millennium, he dominated Formula One like rarely before: five times in succession, the World Cup, Schumacher took home seven world titles. He is an icon not only for the Ferrari fans. 91 times he crossed the finish line first, 155 times he stood on the pedestal. A giant of Formula 1, a giant of the sport. His terrible skiing accident will not change that.

3rd place: Dirk Nowitzki, basketball : Maybe some people in Germany are still not aware of what a superstar of basketball just said goodbye. Dirk Nowitzki played for 21 years in the NBA, the League of leagues, mostly he did this at the highest level. The heroes of US basketball are currently bowing down to him. Hard to imagine that the number 41 of the Dallas Mavericks is no longer in the future.

4th place: Birgit Fischer, Canoeing : Canoeing does not necessarily have the biggest glamor factor, but it's just that Birgit Fischer is not much more prominent. She has won fabled eight Olympic gold medals in her long career, nobody in Germany has ever been more successful. In addition, there are 27 World Cup victories of today 57-year-olds from Brandenburg. In 1980 in Moscow she triumphed for the first time, her last gold took them in 2004 in Athens. What a career.

5th place: Franz Beckenbauer, football : The Emperor. World champion as a player and as a coach. The light figure, the summer fairy tale maker, the Libero. Franz Beckenbauer, the boy from Giesing has everything on it. The fact that he has massively damaged his monument as a football official is part of his story. But there it remains: The name Beckenbauer knows everyone in the world.

6th place: Claudia Pechstein, speed skating : With now 47 years still on the ice and still international in the top - but that is already a superlative. Her five gold medals make her the most successful German winter athlete at the Olympic Games. Claudia Pechstein is still pushing - after her doping ban in 2010 more than ever.

Seat 7: Boris Becker, Tennis : The superstar of German sport, between sports and boulevard, between admiration and ridicule, Boris Becker has left little. When it comes to tennis and goes, then he is completely with himself. His Wimbledon victory in 1985 is part of the history of the Federal Republic - "the 17-year-old from Leimen" has become a standard. Five more Grand Slam titles were added. His epic games at Wimbledon or the Davis Cup will never be forgotten.

8th place: Isabell Werth, dressage : Germany, equestrian country. There were great German riders, the Schockemöhles, Rainer Klimke, HG Winkler, Ludger Beerbaum. Isabell Werth still towers above her, six Olympic gold medals she calls her own, their horses Gigolo, Satchmo and Weihegold they carried from success to success. And it's not over yet: At the weekend, the 49-year-old won the World Cup final for the third time, the first time she succeeded in 1992.

Seat 9: Sebastian Vettel, Formula 1 : Schumacher's worthy successor - in so many ways: in terms of ambition, Ferrari and successes. For four years he dominated the scene, celebrated World Cup victory after World Cup victory, he was four times champion from 2010 to 2013. His duels with Lewis Hamilton keep the title fight in Formula 1 in breath. This year he takes the next try. Vettel has been there for so long, and he is only 31.

10th place: Magdalena Neuner, biathlon : A comparatively short career has put them down, but what a: When Magdalena Neuner announced her retirement from active sport in 2012, at the age of 25, the biathlon competition breathed. She had accumulated twelve world titles until then, and was the biathlon queen at the Vancouver Olympics. She took the overall World Cup three times.

11th place: Birgit Prinz, football : Three times she was world footballer, she won the world title twice, Birgit Prinz is also five-time European champion, with the FFC Frankfurt, she dominated the Bundesliga. In other countries, where women's football is even more popular, it is a legend on par with Brazil's Marta. Only the big coup, the world title in their own country in 2011, did not succeed.

12th place: Emanuel Lasker, Chess : Incredibly 27 years from 1894 to 1921 Emanuel Lasker was world champion in chess. Mathematician, philosopher and chess player - Lasker was an early superstar of the sport, his games against the Cuban José Capablanca are still epic 100 years later. In 1933 he fled the Nazis from Germany, he died in exile. The variants marked by him have changed the chess sport.

13th place: Bernhard Langer, Golf : On Thursday the US Masters starts in Augusta, and of course Bernhard Langer is back - for the 36th time. 61 years, the most famous Anhausen of the Republic is now old and still a top player. Playing golf in Germany - that has been synonymous with Bernhard Langer for many years. He triumphed twice in Augusta, for years he naturally belonged to Team Europe in the Ryder Cup.

14th place: Philipp Lahm, football : Philipp Lahm has actually done everything right in his professional life, he always knew which step he had to go next. So he became world champion, Champions League winner, eight times German champion. Coach Pep Guardiola enthused that he did not meet a player who understood the game that way. Next Step: OK boss of the home European championship 2024. There can still follow a lot.

15th place. Katarina Witt, figure skating : a star in the GDR, a star in united Germany - Katarina Witt has survived the political transition almost seamlessly. From the "most beautiful face of socialism" to the Ice Revue Queen. Twice she triumphed, led by her teacher Jutta Müller, at the Olympic Games. Witt always moved effortlessly between the ice and the red carpet between Chemnitz and Hollywood.

16th place: Fritz Walter, football : The boss. The Betzebub, captain of the national team for the Miracle of Bern, even more than Siegtorschütze Helmut Rahn and Sepp Herberger, the old man. Fritz Walter, similar to Uwe Seeler one, who was also revered in Germany, because he was such a longlasting fellow down-to-earth. Inseparably connected with the German football, DFB team and 1. FC Kaiserslautern until his death in 2002.

17th place: Heike Drechsler, Athletics : Like Katarina Witt, she was a star athlete in GDR times, she also sat as an FDJ representative in the People's Chamber, she has also survived the political upheaval. She celebrated her first World Championship victory in the long jump as Heike Daute in 1983. After the unit she continued her success, crowned by the Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 2000. Her medal closet overflows.

18th place: Kristina Vogel, cycling : The 28-year-old was for years the medal guarantee of the Federation of German Cyclists. On the track, she has been collecting one precious metal after the next since 2010, at the top of the gold medals at the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Games. Vogel may call herself a seven-time world champion. She has been confined to a wheelchair since a bad training accident last year. How she deals with her paraplegia has deeply impressed the public.

19th place: Lothar Matthäus, football : The years in which Lothar Matthäus took place in the tabloid press have sometimes obscured what a unique footballer the 58-year-old was today. He led the national team in 1990 to the world title, not forgetting his solo against Yugoslavia in the first game. To this day, he is unassailably far with 150 internationals at the top of the DFB inserts, almost 20 years, he has significantly influenced German football. A large.

20th place: Francesco Friedrich, Bobsport : There are probably still some who do not know the name. Francesco Friedrich has set new standards in a sport that is considered a German domain. In February, he became the ninth time Bob World Champion, which is record. Two Olympic victories are almost natural. Whether in two or four - Friedrich is the regent in the ice channel.

Do you see Dirk Nowitzki ahead or do you generally disagree? Then you have the opportunity to choose your own from our selection of 20 German top athletes. Here's how it works: You can see two photos in comparison. Click on the athlete you favor. The other disappears, a new one appears - again you can click on what you think is the bigger athlete. In the end, your favorite remains.

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