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Old 08-09-05, 05:30 PM
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Nowitzki's coach jailed on tax evasion charges

BERLIN -- Dirk Nowitzki's longtime coach and friend was arrested on tax evasion charges, distracting the Dallas Mavericks star as he prepares for the European championships.

"It's difficult for me to concentrate on basketball," Nowitzki said in a statement on the German Basketball Federation Web site. "I'm training every day as good as I can."

Holger Geschwindner has been held since July 19, reportedly on suspicion he failed to declare income earned through Nowitzki. He was arrested because of fear he would flee or suppress evidence.

The district attorney's office told The Associated Press on Tuesday the coach will go to court Thursday, trying to be set free while the investigation continues.

Nowitzki's statement came after reports he would drop out of the European championships, which run from Sept. 15-24. Afterward, the All-Star will join the Mavericks for the new season.

"Even though the championships aren't the main thing on my mind, I will gladly play because the Germany national team is dear to my heart," he said.

"I can't even imagine, though, a championships without my longtime friend and coach," he added.

When Nowitzki is in Germany, Geschwindner works on new aspects of the 7-footer's game, putting him through elaborate drills. The 59-year-old Geschwindner often flies to Dallas to help when the smooth-shooting forward -- who finished third in the MVP race -- is slumping.

Germany has been tough on celebrities thought to dodge taxes, especially in sports. Steffi Graf's father spent time in jail; Boris Becker avoided the same fate by winning his case in court.
"We would have two less championships here if it wasn't for Manu Ginobili," Popovich said. "In my book, Manu Ginobili is the stud of the world.
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