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DENNIS Schroder fulfills his promise of leading Germany to its first gold medal in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FIBA

Dennis Schroder had a specific answer to Germany head coach Gordie Herbert when asked about what he wants to accomplish in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

His words that day in Okinawa struck a chord to his teammates, fueling their desire to dream big and fulfill an unfinished business.

More than two decades since the country’s last podium finish, the Germans finally achieved what their predecessors could not do: World domination.

And it all started with that response by Schroder in an island south of Japan.

“Coach came, I don’t know if it was in Okinawa, we had a meeting and we had that last year as well,” Schroder said after Germany annexed its first-ever World Cup title at the expense of Serbia on Sunday at the packed Mall of Asia Arena.

“We were in four groups of four people, and he asked everybody, what do you guys want to accomplish? Everybody said a medal, then at the end, he asked me. He said Dennis what do you want to accomplish? Then, I said gold.”

The Germans made a fruitful trip to the Philippines after a short stop in Japan, sweeping their way to the throne unbeaten punctuated by an 83-77 victory over the favored Bogdan Bogdanovic-led side in the final.

It was a dream fulfilled 21 years since the great Dirk Nowitzki and his crew bagged the bronze medal in Indianapolis.

For Schroder, who plays for Toronto Raptors in the National Basketball Association, it was an amazing moment not only for them but for German basketball to finally be recognized at home.

“It’s unbelievable. An unbelievable group. We started in July, end of July being together. Coach did a great job of bringing us together and knowing their roles. Everybody just brought their best to be successful,” the Most Valuable Player winner said.

“I think being 8-0 in the group where we had big time teams go to the next stage, playing Slovenia and Georgia, and then going to the KO stage. It’s just unbelievable going 8-0 and winning the gold medal. That’s a blessing to share that with all the people in the locker room, my family who came all the way from Germany, my kids, my wife. It’s unbelievable, man.”

Germany became the seventh nation overall and the fourth from Europe to be crowned world champions. They are the first nation to win a World Cup final for their first appearance at that stage since Spain beat Greece in 2006.

“This is unbelievable. We enjoyed every single moment, every single day, every single practice, every single game. We embraced it and competed on the highest level. That’s the reason why we did what we did in this tournament,” Schroder, who scored 28 points in the final, said.

“It means a lot with our history. Of course, Dirk Nowitzki, one of the best fours ever who changed the game of basketball. He was an NBA champ, so much respect for this guy, even off the court, cool dude. I was honored to play with him in 2015 in Berlin for the European Championship.”

“Surpassing that is great, is a great achievement for the federation, for every single player in the locker room. We wouldn’t have done it if we weren’t a team. Shout out to everybody in that locker room, coaches of course, training staff, everyone in the front office. It’s been great.”

Schroder also hoped that their win would give German basketball the respect and recognition it deserves.

“When we first started the tournament, I couldn’t be on TV because only the final was on German TV. Basketball is such a great sport. I wish we would get our respect,” he said.

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