It never fails.
I’ve been doing this whole writing thing and covering the NBA and sports in general for the last eight years. But regardless if it was my time in New York with the Knicks and across the Hudson River with the New Jersey Nets, or back doing interviews around the Rose Garden in Portland, and even that one time I had the chance to interview everyone’s favorite boxer Butterbean, 10 times out of 10 I will click off my voice recorder and walk away from the interview saying some version of the following.
“Man, I forgot to ask him about…”
I’m the type of writer where I never write down questions before talking with a player. Just don’t. Guess I take the approach that I don’t write down questions when I talk to my family or friends, or even complete strangers. I have ideas of what I want to include in my story and yes I’m in the gathering information and news business, but I’m not the type of guy to put pen to paper before interviews.
But had I been, there’s one question I would have asked Kyle Visser when we talked last Saturday night after the game in Ludwigsburg, Germany for a Grand Rapids Press feature running today.
Knowing Visser showcased his skills for more than half of the teams in the NBA from Orlando to Oakland when he failed to get selected out of Wake Forest, and knowing his desire to still make it in the league, I wonder if he feels lost in the mix playing overseas.
Is there such a thing as being this far from home and feeling forgotten?no comments
On a cold Saturday night in Northwest Nuremberg, the gym at the slight vocational school tucked away in the shadows of the Berliner Platz echo with cheers, screeching sneakers and a hype man with an afro wig who goes ballistic into a microphone each time the hometown team scores or makes a move.
Remove the in-game AND1 entertainer, three fans banging away on base drums behind one hoop, constant noisemakers and even the crackling of misunderstood Deutschland chants into a megaphone, and this hardwood scene could be confused with a college basketball atmosphere in anytown USA.
The crowd was sparse, generously numbered at a few hundred. They made up for it with their passion and applause. The game ebbed and flowed. It went down to the wire. On this night, basketball is a universal language between the Nurnberger Basketball Club and Kirchheim Knights.
Welcome to Pro A second division basketball in Germany.
Easily lost in the limelight of the 18-team Beko BBL, Germany’s premiere basketball league, the Pro A second division league – also known as the "AG 2. Bundesliga" - consists of 15 teams who compete for the chance to rise to the BBL or fall to defeat and a lower league in Germany during a season that stretches from late October through February. The top two teams qualify. The bottom two teams fall out of favor.
The rosters: a mixture of homegrown German players and import players from the States with experience playing college basketball from major NCAA programs, to Division II, Division III, and NAIA schools as well.
It can be considered a stepping stone league –- somewhere a player can sign their first professional contract out of college to play ball overseas, gain a taste of the realities of life on and off the court in Europe, and seek the chance to see the world at the same time. Others remain in the league by bouncing from team to team on shortterm contracts.
For most, Pro A second division is the first step in what they hope will be a long basketball journey.no comments
It’s been 13 years since Ruben Patterson began his outrageous basketball journey by signing with AEK in Greece after the Los Angeles Lakers selected him out of Cincinnati in the second-round of the 1998 NBA Draft.
Back then – much like we are experiencing now – the NBA was mired in a lockout, leaving Patterson to sign what was described at the time by his agent Dan Fagan as, “the richest contract ever for a first-year player in Greece”.
Now it appears Patterson may not be done with the overseas basketball chapter of his life.
According to one source in Israel, the 6-6 forward who last played in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2007, is currently being considered to play for Ashkelon, in southern Israel, as part of Ligat HaAl, the top division of Israeli basketball.no comments
Update: Andrei Kirilenko is finally back home again to play basketball in Russia, and this time for the next three years.
While an NBA out is part of the contract, Kirilenko signed with CSKA Moscow on Monday - the team where he spent two seasons before making the jump to the NBA with the Utah Jazz in 2001. He will begin practicing with the team on Tuesday and will make his Euroleague debut when CSKA faces Zalgiris (Ty Lawson, Sonny Weems) on Monday, October 17.
"I am glad to be back to the team where I spent the years of adolescence." Kirilenko said in a release by CSKA Moscow and the Euroleague.
"It’s a pleasure to have a chance to play for Russian fans, my friends, relatives. CSKA has a very strong team, great coach, excellent players. It’s great when the highest goals are ahead of you. It’s especially interesting to play under the load of responsibility. I am sure that we are able to solve any task together. I’d like to mention also that all the money earned in Russia I will send to Kirilenko’s Kids charity foundation. The foundation will help the children hospitals and charity-schools, sport schools, sport veterans and the basketball players who became the disabled persons."
My contribution to AK's arrival in Moscow now running in full here at the Deseret News.
Spend any amount of time with David Blatt and you might find yourself wondering how this man isn’t filling up 140 characters on Twitter regularly.
After everywhere Blatt has been – from growing up in Framingham, Mass., to playing at Princeton under Pete Carril, to coaching overseas in Israel, Italy and Russia and currently with Maccabi Tel Aviv, while pulling double-duty as head coach of the Russia National Team since 2006 – and the one-liners he drops throughout his postgame press conference and casual conversations, Blatt and the social media outlet are a marriage made in Moscow.
On-court coaching insight. Off-court and overseas opinion -- @CoachDBlatt would be an instant must follow.
“Have you ever met a horse trainer before,” Blatt opened one press conference when asked to describe how he handles Andrei Kirilenko within Russia’s offensive game plan.
“Andrei runs around out there like a beautiful wild horse roaming free.”no comments
No one ever said it would be easy for Michael Jordan to walk away from the game of basketball.
Just ask Michael Jordan. No, not that Michael Jordan.
This Michael Jordan.
This Michael Jordan was a four-year starting point guard for the University of Pennsylvania Quakers from 1996-2000 and spent the last ten years playing professionally overseas between Spain, Venezuela, Latvia, France, Belgium, Greece, Israel, Italy and multiple stops in Germany.
It wasn’t that long ago that Jordan was named the 1999-2000 Ivy League Player of the Year and pushed the Quakers to an automatic March Madness berth as a junior and Penn’s leading scorer at 15.3 points per game.
Now 34-years-old and after spending last season playing for two different teams (MBC, LTI Giessen) in Germany’s Beko BBL, Jordan is a man without a team.
“I want to play this year. I truly do and I'm a little worried, but if it doesn't happen then it wasn't meant to be,” Jordan told Beyond the Beat.
“I’m just waiting to see who's going take a chance on an old vet.”no comments