For Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, agreeing to be the ambassador of the World Cup is one way of helping the game of basketball grow internationally.

In an interview with Alex Squadron of Slam Online, the Mavs icon admitted that he's sad that his playing days are over. However, Nowitzki still wants to contribute to the game as much as he can even now that he's retired. And one great way to do this is to be the World Cup ambassador.

“Well, you know, I’m of course sad that my competing days are done. But I still want to help grow the game internationally,” Nowitzki said.

“I’ve had great success in FIBA competitions and it’s always been fun competing at the highest level, so when they approached me to see if I wanted to do this, of course I was on board. Growing the game internationally, growing the game here in China—there are some amazing fans here—and we have some of the best athletes [here right now for the World Cup], so it should be a fun few weeks. Hopefully, we can grow the sport even more.”

Nowitzki, apart from his contributions to how the game is played today, is one of the first international players who achieved great success in the NBA. As such, the German's rise trickled on over to a number of international players looking to take their chances and talents to the NBA.

The NBA has absorbed lots of international talent over the years, and if we are to look back at history, the Mavs great played a big part in this development.