In December, some guy named Jakob e-mailed me about this post he had just written showing how Greg Monroe could be effective in the high post. I was blown away. I immediately linked the post, and we’ve e-mailed back and forth several times since.
That was Jakob Eich – the newest member of the PistonPowered team.
I always learn something from his screenshot-based posts, and he’s bringing them to PistonPowered as regular guest posts. In fact, he’s already written a few. Jakob will still post from time to time at his original blog, Bynumite Blog, so make sure to keep an eye on that.
I know I speak for Patrick and Graham when I say we’re all very excited to have Jakob on board. I asked Jakob to share a few details about himself so everyone can get to know him. As usual, he went above and beyond:
I was born in 1988 in Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg has a population of 1.8 mil. Most Americans think of it as a smallish town somewhere in Germany, because they have mostly heard of Berlin, Cologne or Munich. Just like you have lots of different regions in the USA, Germany has lots of different areas as well. Hamburg is not really comparable with Munich. The German stereotype is we wear leather-pants all the time, drink beer and are rural – at least that is what I experienced during my stay in the U.S. In Hamburg, we don’t have any of that. It is a city just like an American city with similar size, we have McDonalds Burger King and so on.
My parents both enjoy athletics. When I was 4 or 5 years old, they, of course, put me in soccer, which is the favorite pastime in good old Germany. I immediately loved it, but I also started pursuing other sports like ping pong, badminton, golf, judo, tennis and gymnastics. Basketball is just not that big over here. We don’t get the NBA on regular cable, and when I was young, the only known German basketball player was Detlef Schrempf. Michael Jordan was an icon over here, too – actually, he was more of a myth. In third grade, we had horrible baskets at my school, and one month the so-called “soccer cage” was closed, so we had to find another activity for our breaks. We started playing basketball. We did not really play basketball, but something similar to horse. In my memory, I usually beat my friends, but they might like to tell you a different story.
In fifth grade, I finally joined a team and started playing real basketball. I was a real big kid at the age of 13. I was 6-foot-1 and weighed nearly 200 pounds. The only team was made for guys born in 1985, so I was three years younger. Nevertheless, I still went to practice every time and worked really hard. I was far from the best, but it felt quite great not being the tallest for once in my life. I had to earn respect instead of being given the respect due to my height. I never bullied anyone, I was a nice kid, I just had always been bigger. Later, I went to a different club a little further away, SC Rist Wedel. They have one of the best youth programs in the country. Several national players have been with the team, such as Marvin Willoughby, he played with Dirk Nowitzki as well and is now a tutor to immigrants in the area. He is a great guy! I played competitive basketball for three season there, playing in state championships and even in a national championship once. I wasn’t the best player on the team, I was a rotation player, sometimes starting five. I didn’t grow much after my 13th birthday!
I then decided to go abroad for one year of school. I had always been fascinated with the American way of life, and my preference for basketball and rap-music only added to it. My parents ran the New York City Marathon in 1999, and even though I didn’t speak English at the time, I was amazed with the big buildings and friendliness of the people. My sister participated in an exchange program in 2001 and again, I was fascinated and decided I wanted to do the same. I was picked (sounds like the draft) by a lovely host-family called the Lincolns who live in Durand, a few miles outside of Flint. They are the kindest people out there, and I appreciate everything they did and have done for me. Arriving in a strange country at the age of 17, thousands of miles away from home is an odd experience. They made the transition as easy as possible, and it’s a nice feeling to have a second family like that. I truly consider them family. Some people aren’t even blessed with one, I have two. My hostmom came to all of the soccer and basketball games, and every time I got hurt, she would jump out of her seat and be completely miserable until she saw I wasn’t actually hurt. My mom was always worried about me being so far away and not being able to see how I was doing. When she realized I had great support, she calmed down. I made the varsity team in basketball. I was fairly proud of that, although we didn’t win a game all season long.
Prior to my exchange year, I considered myself a Minnesota Timberwolves fan. I wasn’t as much a fan of Minnesota, but of KG! This guy was amazing! He played my position, but he could do it all. My teammates were fascinated with guys like Iverson, Bryant or T-Mac. I was always rooting for KG! During the 04-05 season I started watching NBA games for the first time. I remember watching the Pistons-Spurs game 7 in 2005. I knew then I was going to Michigan. I stayed up with a friend until 6 a.m. to watch the game and the ceremony. Had I only known I was about to fall in love with Detroit Basketball. During my exchange year, I didn’t miss one game on television. It was the year we won 64 games, and I will never cope with the loss against the Heat in the ECF! I believe in team basketball, and I believed in all the guys on the team! I talked to them during the games, and for every game I wore my ‘Sheed jersey in order to show support. This team to this day represents everything I want from basketball. I will never forget the great games, the ball movement, Rip’s buzzer beater over the Celtics with 0.8 seconds on the clock. The Pistons and Kobe’s January were truly great.
Right now, I’m back living in Hamburg. Whenever I go back to the US, I kind of feel like an alien. It’s not the same. Maybe I have changed, maybe the people have changed, probably both. You have two or three weeks to see your friends and after that, you are gone. You don’t get the chance to spend much time, just a little bit. You stay in touch via Facebook and try your best. I’m studying English and Economics and I’m aspiring to become a writer, hopefully a basketball writer. I might get a simple job somewhere and just live my life and be content. I would like to pursue my dream, though. I am 22, I won’t become a basketball player anymore, I’m still playing a lot and I still love it, I won’t make it to the big leagues, I know it! I especially like analyzing games and looking at the details. When I started doing that on Bynumite Blog, I didn’t think anyone would appreciate it, turns out, there are more Pistons lunatics out there than I thought. I just enjoy breaking down plays and sharing my knowledge and passion for the game with as many people as possible. The more the merrier, right?
Alright, I hope that was enough of an introduction. Have a great day!