Bobby Dixon is a 32 year old 178cm point guard from Chicago that will be playing his 10th professional season and fourth in Turkey and first with Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey-BSL). Currently he is playing with the Turkish national team at Euro 2015 in Berlin. He played at Troy St. (NCAA) and turned professional in 2006. Over the years he has played in countries like France, Poland, Ukraine, and Italy. Last season he played for Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-TBL) playing 40 games: Score-4(17.3ppg), 3.9rpg, 4.6apg, Steals-2(2.0spg), FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 82.9%; Eurocup: 20 games: 16.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 5.2apg, Steals-5(2.0spg), FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 84.5%. He won the cup in 2009 with Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-ProA) and a cup and 2015 Turkish league title with Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir. He spoke to German Hoops before the clash against Germany.
Bobby thanks for talking to German Hoops Is this your first visit to Berlin? What has been your impression of the atmosphere and the Mercedes arena?
This is my first time in Berlin. I like the city and the arena is very nice as well. I have played in many nice arena´s and I would rank it in the top as one of the best. Its dope.
You became a Turkish citizen in 2015 and your Turkish name is Ali Muhammed. Was the main reason just to play for the national team or was there even a deeper reason for making this move?
Boxer Muhamad Ali is my idol and when I was told I had the possibility to change my name then that was the name that I really wanted to have. My coach at Pinar is also an assistant with the Turkish national team and he asked me if I wanted to play for the national team and I agreed.
How is it different playing for a national team than for a club team? Do you feel the country pride?
It is a lot different, because the whole country is behind you and the expectations are very high for you to succeed. The fans are very passionate and we know that we have to perform well for the country.
The Turkish national team has three guys that play in the NBA and the rest players that play in Europe. AS the point guard you have a big responsibility, but what is your standing on the court?
I am the point guard and have to make sure that the offense is moving as well as to score and to get my teammates the ball. It isn´t any different than when I am playing club basketball.
After a big 89-87 win against Italy, Turkey was slaughtered by Spain 104-77. What lessons did the team learn from this loss that you will have to do better against Germany?
The Italy game was very tough for us. We then had to face Spain the next night which wasn´t easy either. We started off soft and got many fouls. Spain was very focused and were able to build a lead. We were unable to catch up.
Turkey lost an exhibition game in Hamburg to Germany where they were leading by 24 points. How big is the revenge factor?
We don´t feel any revenge for that game. That was a preseason game where both teams were getting ready for Euro 2015 and finding themselves.
Both Germany and Turkey are 1-1 and this is a must win situation. Both teams are reeling off tough loses. What kind of game can we await?
It will be a good battle. We are just going to go in play our game and get the win against Germany.
A key is containing Dirk Nowitzki and Dennis Schroeder, but could the bench be a type of the ex factor in this game?
The bench could possibly be the ex factor in this game. We play so many games in such a short time that you need a bench to step up to take pressure off the starters.
If you had to choose a player on the Turkish squad that you have learned the most from this summer who would it be?
I have to be honest that for me it is more about getting used to playing with my new teammates. I am a very experienced player
In the beginning of your professional basketball career you were a type of basketball globetrotter, as You have played in countries like Poland, Ukraine, France, and Italy, but no have calmed down and will be starting your fourth season in Turkey with Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey-BSL). Why has Turkey become like a second home for you?
Turkey is like a second home for me. I feel very comfortable here and know the league.
As a rookie in the 2006-2007 season you played for Saint-Etienne B. C. (France-ProB). What was your wake up call to being a professional where you knew that you were very far away from home in Chicago?
It was big shock for me leaving the states. I came to Europe and at first was thinking “do I want to be here”? No one spoke English and it was tough, but I stuck it out.
In the 2009-2010 season you played for ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). What was your fondest memory that season of playing Euroleague basketball?
I learned very much that year. I thought that we had a team that really wasn´t strong enough for the Euroleague. The critics said a big reason why the team didn´t advance was because of me which wasn´t fair. When you lose, there is always a guy that has to take the blame and that was me. It was an important learning experience.
In the 2010-2011 season you played for Enel Brindisi (Italy-SerieA). What memories do you have playing with ex NBA player Anthony Roberson. Both of you were born in 1983. I can imagine the competition is practice was very high.
The competition was very high with Anthony. He has also remained a good friend to this day. We had great offensive fire power that year with me at the point guard position and Anthony at the shooting guard position, but we struggled on defense.
Who would win a one on one in practice, you or him?
We actually never played one on one, but had shooting contests. We usually split those games.
You won cups in France and Turkey, but how special was winning the assist crown in Poland in your second professional season with Polpak Swiecie?
It is always great to win a stat title as it fuels the ego. I just got the guys the ball that year like I would any other season. It is nice to win a stat title like this, but if you don´t win a team title, then it really doesn´t mean anything.
You played at Troy State. How did head coach Don Maestri prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Maestri gave me much freedom there and just let me play my game. He gave me very good advice in my time there and I really appreciate that.
In your senior season Richard Chaney didn´t play as he was a transfer student, but he practiced with the team. Did you know then that he could have a long and fruitful professional basketball career?
I saw a very athletic guy come to Troy that had very long arms and really had all the tools in his game to succeed as a professional. He was very good then already as a young guy and it didn´t surprise me that he has had a good career
Did Detroit native David Holston give you tips on moving to teamPinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir. How much of a bond do two small point guards from Chicago and Detroit have?
No David didn´t give me tips. I actually didn´t know him until I came to play in Turkey. We are ok and not the best of friends. We were very competitive on the court and I remember him being a little edgy. It was a good battle, but I came out with win both times.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
Both guys are completely different players. It is unfair to compare both guys. Lebron has changed the game in his own right. You can´t compare anyone to Jordan. Jordan is at a different level, but Lebron has proved that he is the best in the world now. This is the era of Lebron.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Straight Outta Compton.
Thanks Bobby for the chat.