Franz Wagner is a real hero when it comes to having a mature attitude to life at a young age, pursuing his dreams and fighting hard for them. Giving up is not an option for him. In May 2021, he enters the NBA draft and is selected eighth overall by the Orlando Magic. 23 years have passed since a German basketball player was selected as one of the first ten players. At that time it was a certain Dirk Nowitzki. Many experts predict a similar career for Franz Wagner, at least since the professional basketball player led the German team to the bronze medal at the European Basketball Championships in Germany in 2022. Or will he even outdo Dirk Nowitzki? Franz Wagner already has one thing ahead of his role model: a world championship title! In September 2023, he sensationally wins the gold medal with the German team led by Dennis Schröder.
He was 16 years old when he made his debut in the Basketball Bundesliga in 2017, and in addition to his basketball career with Alba Berlin, he was also taking his Abitur (high school diploma). Yes, at 16, because the young talent skipped a grade in elementary school. He makes the impossible possible and manages to do both. And then he risks the safe money in the German professional league and goes to college. He doesn't want to do things by halves, takes a full risk with the goal: NBA. And lo and behold: The Orlando Magic drafted him in 2021. Since then, Franz Wagner, currently playing with his brother Moritz Wagner, has been playing for the Magic in the professional basketball league in the USA. At the same time, he proudly plays for the national team in his home country of Germany. In his first international game, he fits into the team as naturally as if he had always been playing there. His ambition and discipline make him a real hero.
In 2022, the European Basketball Championship will be held in Germany. At the game against Lithuania in September in Cologne, Franz Wagner, wearing the colors of the German national team, shows everything a professional basketball player must have. In the game, he throws 32 points and is celebrated by the spectators in the Lanxess Arena. A year later, at the 2023 World Cup in Japan, Franz is less fortunate: he injures his ankle in the first game against the hosts and has to take a break for the entire preliminary round. His comeback came in time for the quarterfinals. From then on, Franz is again the usual important pillar of coach Gordon Herbert's team and sensationally leads Germany to its first world championship title!
Franz Wagner was born in Berlin on August 27, 2001.
He played for two years in the youth of Alba Berlin and in the second men's team from 2017. In April 2018, at the age of 16, he followed his brother, Moritz Wagner and moved to the Basketball Bundesliga, becoming the youngest player to wear an Alba jersey in this context. Alba's junior team became German champions at the end of that season. In the process, he was able to enjoy two awards: league rookie of the year and best player of the final tournament.
August of 2018 meant a great opportunity for him: he was invited to "Basketball without Borders Europe", a training camp organized by the NBA and the world federation FIBA. But unfortunately, he could not participate for the time being due to an injury.
That was far from the end of his career. From the 2018/19 season Wagner got the double license and played for Alba Berlin and SSV Lokomotive Bernau in the 2nd Bundesliga.
At the end of the 2018/19 season, he was named "Best German Young Player U22".
His further path led the young talent to join his brother in the USA: in July 2019, he began playing as a neutral in Michigan.
In early May 2021, his career continued with a major milestone: he participated in the NBA draft and was selected eighth overall by Orlando Magic. That meant: after 23 years, it happened for the first time that a German basketball player was selected as one of the first ten players. Back then, in 1998, it was Dirk Nowitzki. With this selection, both Wagner brothers have now been playing together on the same team ever since.
The young basketball star is causing a big stir in the German team at the 2022 European Championships. He is celebrated by the spectators and receives wry compliments from his teammates. But that's not all. Franz Wagner also receives huge praise from probably the greatest German basketball legend, Dirk Nowitzki.
Franz Jacob Wagner
Date of birth, place of birth
August 27, 2001, Berlin
National Basketball Association