Jason Boone Was Tough On The Outside But Had That Soft Side Inside As A Player

In between preparing interviews or writing articles, I really enjoy seeking out player profiles on eurobasket.com that currently boasts more than 500,000 player profiles and checking out the stats. Sometimes when a player name pops into my mind and I have lost track of their career, I check their player profile to see in what country they are playing in. One guy I checked up not to long ago was Jason Boone who had played 9 years in Germany, but had turned his back on the country that gave the world Boris Becker and Wiener Schnitzel playing in Romania the last two years. Ok so Boone is 34 an age where most players have already hung up their jersey and are already involved with their new life off the court. It was the beginning of November and the last team he had was the team SCM CSU Craiova (Romania-Liga Nationala) from 2018-2019. Not having a team yet this season didn´t panic me, but every new day where he stays unsigned makes it even harder for a 34 year old to find a job. Players still find teams in mid season and I was hoping that that would happen to Jason, but he had other ideas. I came upon an amazing piece written by him on the Good Pillar site called “Every athlete dies twice” https://www.goodpillar.com/good-pillar/everyathletediestwice and there he officially announced his retirement. In a way I was sad, because I always enjoyed watching him play, but after reading the article, I understood that it was time to hang up the jersey. The article was released on Thanksgiving and a day later, I prepared a career ending interview and had to ask him what his European Thanksgiving memories were. “There are too many to count, and I need to save the good ones for the book I’m going to write one day. As for the Thanksgiving memories one year my mother came to visit and made a full Thanksgiving dinner with John Little’s wife for all the Americans on my Wurzburg team. Another year the Reinhardt family sent a FULL dinner down from Roringen to Ludwigsburg with John Patrick in a box the size of a refrigerator for me to eat alone. It took me six days to finish it all. But my favorite one of all time was when one of our sponsors, the Miritz family, catered an amazing seven course meal for the team in Goettingen. Those were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I continue to be super thankful for them until this day”, said Jason Boone. Unlike my seemingly neverending articles, he got quicker to the point in his article and left the reader thinking for a second about the powerful words that he had delivered. I didn´t quite understand why he would announce his retirement this way, but he quickly cleared me up. “Come on Miles, you know I don’t do things like other people. I’ve always found that writing my thoughts down in an attempt to express my feelings on paper (without a character limit) allows people to understand me better. But more importantly, it allows me to understand myself better. So with a big announcement like this, I wanted to make sure I sat with my thoughts, and intelligently conveyed the message I was trying to get across”, stressed Jason Boone. He played 12 seasons and outlasted most of his teammates like Chris Oliver, Ben Jacobsen, and Joh Little from his Goettingen glory days as discipline played a huge role. “Discipline is everything. I had to change my eating habits, sleeping habits, workout habits and especially change the way I approached recovery. Unless you are extremely lucky, you can’t last this long without a high level of discipline”, warned Jason Boone.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber meeting Jason Boone for the first time in the Fraport area in 2008 as he was playing his second professional season in Goettingen

I covered Jason Boone from 2008 until now and always saw him as a tough fearless warrior on the court, but off the court he was the friendliest guy ever. The kind of guy that anybody would want as a friend. But that he broke down in the weight room and had mental health issues really surprised me, because I always thought he had everything in control. But boy was I wrong. But that doesn´t make me change my opinion in any negative way, but actually my respect for him has grown as he showed unbelievable courage coming out and talking about his feelings. I mean come on which normal guy would do that. The least would, because it just isn´t natural. The man is strong and isn´t weak. I definitely can´t imagine how tough it was to write this article, because most players wouldn´t have gone this route. “This one was very difficult to write. I went back and forth a few times about how transparent I wanted to be. But in the end I just decided to put it all out there. I was struggling with a lot of things mentally my last few seasons and I think a lot of players feel the same way but think it is weak to show it. I believe that showing it is actually what it means to be strong, and I found it very therapeutic to honestly express me the way I was feeling during that time period”, added Jason Boone. After playing most of his career in the BBL a top 5 league in Europe, he played his last two seasons in Romania not really known as a strong basketball league and it was there he began to question himself. “I don’t think anyone would argue that the BBL is a much better league than the top Romanian league but those years were tougher more so because my body started to break down a little. And I wasn’t mentally tough enough to face the reality of that situation. In the article I addressed feeling like I let my teammates down because my play started to suffer and my confidence followed. But I knew when I was more concerned about “not getting hurt” than” winning or losing” then it was time for me to re-evaluate why I was playing the game”, expressed Jason Boone.

His biggest success was clearly winning the 2010 Eurochallenge title with BG Goettingen. What many didn´t ever think about was that after only three years as a professional, he had already reached the pinnacle as a professional winning that massive title which at that time had only been the third German international club title after Alba Berlin won the Korac Cup in 1995 and MBC the Fiba Europe Cup in 2004. For people on the outside, they saw Jason Boone as a very good player and he would up his stats in the next years averaging in double figures in the BBL and having 9/6 stats in the Eurocup, but stats are one thing and titles are something completely different and the slippers didn´t fit. “You ever see Cinderella? I was simply saying that once you win a title, that becomes the only goal going forward. In Wurzburg’s first year in the BBL, we made the playoffs and beat Berlin. Most people were happy and satisfied with the season but in my mind, we should have beat Ulm too and been playing for a championship. In hindsight, I can look back at my career as a success but I’d be lying if I said I never thought we could have accomplished a little more”, stressed Jason Boone. I always saw Jason as a winner. I mean he won a Eurochallenge title and reached the playoffs almost every season in the BBL with three clubs, but it wasn´t good enough for this fierce competitor. Perhaps he should of retired after his last season in Ludwigsburg where he hardly got minutes. But then again there is always that inner voice telling an athlete after a not so satisfying season that one can come back. Going to Romania seemed to be the right step for him in 2017 instead of retiring at age 31. “That was a tough year for me, I came back to Ludwigsburg even though they already had two centers signed because I was in the process of getting a German passport. It didn’t work out for me and luckily JP allowed me out of my contract so I could go somewhere and play more. I still feel like I had a lot left in the tank at that point but clearly my best years were all prior to that”, commented Jason Boone. His last two seasons in Romania weren´t what he expected and he had issues of mental health something that has come up among professional athletes, but something that is still not talked about much. “It’s a very complex issue and what works for some people may not work for other people. I don’t want the narrative to get misconstrued, when I wrote “struggled with my mental health” I was saying that when my body started to break down, I felt like I no longer belonged. And when my body felt better, my mind was telling me that this doesn’t make me happy anymore. I had a newfound anxious feeling that I didn’t know how to handle or talk about. I thought more about the possibility of getting hurt again and it affected the way I played. This was all stuff that came about in my last few seasons though”, stressed Jason Boone.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jason Boone in 2012 after a game in Frankfurt when he was playing with s.Oliver Wurzburg

He has found a way to cope with his fears and seeing his career for what it was with meditation. “I approach it with the same regimen that I approach lifting weights. I started using a device to track how “calming” my meditation sessions are. I learned a lot about breath work and I think there’s a big place in professional sports for adopting this habit. But you’ll see more of those plans in the future”, added Jason Boone. There are few guys that can be able to play a long professional career coming from JUCO or the NAIA and even the NCAA 3 is a reach for most, but not for Jason Boone who played at New York University from 2003-2007 playing a total of 104 games and averaging 15/9 stats in his last two seasons. Very few guys from NCAA 3 schools go pro and even less or probably none go on to have a twelve year career like him and win a title and reach the playoffs with different teams. Everybody wants to win titles and many that even played as long he never tasted the champagne. With the help of meditation, he has been able to understand that he did very good as a professional and accomplished things that many didn´t. “For me, it was a gift and a curse to win so early in my career. It drove me, but like I said, it was a constant battle to accept success as anything less than winning a title. I would have loved nothing more than to bring a BBL title to Goettingen or Wurzburg. I felt like we also had a real shot that first year in Ludwigsburg, that would have been pretty cool too. But yes, as I look back on my career as a whole, I am content. It took me awhile to reach that point. But I’m there now”, warned Jason Boone. He definitely showed that you can go very far even if you played at a division 3 school. “If you really want something, going out and getting it. The time and effort isn’t going to put itself in, it has to come from you. He’s the perfect example of “hard work pays off”. He has put in so much time and dedication to be where he is today. I used to think the BBL was for ex NBA players and Division 1 athletes, but he is a prime example of proving me wrong. I will continue to work“, stressed Jason Boone´s brother  Malcolm in 2013 when he was playing in Germany.

            After finishing at New York University in 2007, he embarked on a professional basketball career overseas. He began his rookie season with SSV Lokomotive Bernau just outside Berlin and in 17 games averaged 17.1ppg. Then he made the jump from the 4th league to the best league BBL in Germany to BG Goettingen. He played three full seasons in Goettingen from 2008-2011 and despite averaging 4,4ppg in 2008-2009, he really upped his stats in his last two seasons averaging 10.7ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 53.8% in the Eurochallenge, 9.1ppg, 6.1rpg, FGP: 60.3%, FT: 55.9% in the BBL and the next season averaged 8.5ppg, 5.9rpg, FGP: 59.8%, FT: 34.9% in the BBL and 9.1ppg, 6.2rpg, Blocks-4(1.1bpg), FGP: 59.8%, FT: 36.0% in the Eurocup while being a regular guest in the playoffs. His time in Goettingen was the sweetest time in his professional career and it won´t be the basketball that he will remember the most, but something else “The relationships I made with the people of that city. My time in that city will always be bigger than basketball. I can go back there any time and be welcomed like a legend, but when I go back there, basketball is the last thing on my mind. I’ve grown to love the people of that city like I do my own flesh and blood, and I’m forever grateful that they love me the same way”, stated Jason Boone. He had many very memorable games, but two that stick out were his 16/10 and 20/11 games in the Eurochallenge competition against AEL “Those were some fun times. I felt like every game that year I had a monster dunk or block that would end up on the video highlights. And probably a lot of free throw misses, but stats in games aren’t what I remember as much as the bus ride karaoke sessions, hotel room Uno games and team dinners. That’s where the real memories were made”; Added Jason Boone.

            He then made the next step in his career going with John Patrick to Wurzburg in 2011 where he would play three seasons, but only one with Patrick who was gone after the season. This was clearly his strongest and most consistent time as a player. His second season there he averaged 10.1ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP-2(68.9%), FT: 51.3% in the BBL and was riding the roller coaster at times. He explained that his three years there were All-Encompassing. “I went through the full spectrum of emotions during those years. We were literally two quarters away from going to the Finals my first year and just fighting to stay in the league my last year there. Lots of highs and lots of lows. I was probably playing my most efficient basketball at that time but those were the years my younger brother was also playing in Germany, so those were probably the most enjoyable years for me off the court as well”, stressed Jason Boone. One of his highlights was tossing Alba Berlin out of the quarterfinals and scoring 16 points in one game. You know time has flown by when he can´t remember who Alba Berlin´s point guard then was. It was Dashaun Wood. “That one was up there too. Beating them in that Playoff series was special. Especially since their PG, I honestly can’t remember his name, beat us the year before in Frankfurt and wouldn’t stop talking trash on the court. It’s nice when you get a chance to shut people up”, added Jason Boone. He also had the privilege to play with a young Maxi Kleber who is in his 3rd NBA season now with the Dallas Mavericks. Boone wasn´t only a very good basketball player and charming character, but always kept his humor. I asked him what he would of said in 2013 if someone had told him that Kleber would sign a 30 million $ contract with the Mavericks in 2019 and he said “I would have thought that he would have already paid me back for all those nights Ben Jacobson and I didn’t let him pay for anything at those Wurzburg nightclubs”. After playing seven years in Germany straight, he sought a new challenge outside Germany in the 2014-2015 season and split time with Torku Konyaspor (Turkey-TBL) averaging  6.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2FGP: 60.7%, FT: 46.2%, and played with SO Maritime Boulogne (France-ProA) averaging 9.7ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 63.6%, FT: 51.4%. He was able to experience two different cultures in a short time and when I interviewed him in November 2014, he was excited about being in Turkey. “I’ve heard that Konya is very different than other parts of Turkey. It’s a very high population of conservative Muslims and maybe that’s why socially I haven’t found nearly as many things to do as in Germany. But the fans are great and I’m adjusting pretty well. I just started taking a few Turkish lessons and understanding the German language opened so many doors there, that I feel like learning some Turkish will do the same,” said Jason Boone.

         He came back to Germany in 2015 to play parts of two seasons with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL) and with head coach John Patrick for a third time. The American had been used to getting good minutes under John Patrick in the past but in Ludwigsburg his minutes dipped to 13 minutes in the BBL where he averaged 6.0ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP-1(71.6%), FT: 51.9%; Eurocup: 16 games: 5.7ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 61.8%, FT: 56.1% and had the best field goal percentage in the BBL and averaged 15 minutes in the Eurocup averaging  5.7ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 61.8%, FT: 56.1%. But in his second season his minutes got reduced greatly to 5 minutes in the BBL where he averaged 1,0ppg and 1,1rpg and 5 minutes in the Basketball Champions League averaging 2,0ppg and 2,0rpg. It wasn´t difficult to understand that his last German organization wasn´t an easy one, but he swallowed the hardship, lived with it and remained a great teammate from the bench.  Everything seems difficult as you go through it but in hindsight is never as bad as it seems in the moment. This season definitely wasn’t the easiest but at the end of the day I was able to be a part of a successful team and a great group of guys. Putting pride aside for the betterment of the team is something that a lot of players have a tough time doing. It often becomes detrimental and causes more harm than help. I was determined to show that if that was what the team needed from me, I would be able to do it. When you genuinely like the guys on your team it isn’t as difficult as one may think”, stated Jason Boone in 2017. Many players would have been irate with not playing a lot under a coach that he had always played for, but his character and overall understanding about what is right prevailed. “One of the most interesting dynamics in basketball is between the player and coach. It’s rare that they see the same thing in the same way. What I do understand is that it’s hard to play three guys at the same position. And JP has always been about winning. I’ve trusted his decisions for the teams success my whole career”, added Jason Boone in 2017.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jason Boone in the Wurzburg arena in 2013

         After leaving Ludwigsburg, he finished the season with TBV Start Lublin (Poland-PLK). He went to Poland focused to finish strong. “The main reason I chose this team is because I had something to prove and because what they were looking for doesn’t require me to do things out of my comfort zone. Play hard on offense and defense, bring a physical presence and push my teammates to improve on a daily basis. That’s all I’ve been doing my entire career. This will be a great chance to show everyone I can still do it”, warned Jason Boone. He definitely proved that he still had it averaging 11.4ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 68.3%, FT: 58.1%. It has been almost 3 years since he left the MHP Riesen and despite all that happened there, John Patrick will always be one if not the most important basketball figure in his professional career. “, I credit a lot of my success to JP. He was one of the first people to reach out to me when I published the article and he’ll forever be someone I look at as a catalyst to where I was able to get to. It’s easy to sit here now and speculate what it may have been like with or without him as my coach but I don’t feel like there is anything to come from that. The fact is, we both benefited from working together, and we both understand that”, stressed Jason Boone. Over the years his appreciation for Patrick rose and he also understood what it took to play for him. “JP understands that no one player is bigger than the team. And the players that struggle the most with him are the ones that put themselves before the team. If you understand the role he wants you to play and play it well, then you’ll be good. I’ve never met a player that agreed with or loved every thing a coach did. But no one gets more out of his players than JP. Even if his tactics are sometimes a test of your mental strength”, said Jason Boone. He finished his professional basketball career in Romania playing with Steaua CSM EximBank Bucuresti (Romania-Liga Nationala) averaging  7.7ppg, 4.8rpg, FGP: 64.9%, FT: 63.6%; and with SCM CSU Craiova (Romania-Liga Nationala) 8.2ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 67.5%, FT: 56.4%. He was teammates with Porter Troupe a guy that has made Romania a second home playing most of his career there and was the perfect teammate to end his career with.” He’s hands down the best leader I’ve ever played with. At that point in my career I thought I had seen it all, I knew enough and the young guys looked up to me for guidance. But I think I learned more about how to lead a team from Porter than anyone else I ever played with. His intellect and passion may be his biggest strength both on and off the court. But I’ll always remember him as a teammate for his approach to effective communication.  That’s a guy who I will be close with long after we both hang em up for good”, stressed Jason Boone.

            I reach Quantez Robertson on an early Wednesday afternoon in early December and tell him that Jason Boone has retired and also mention to him what the big man will always remember about him. “When we matched up in the playoffs that last year in Goettingen, he caught an alley oop in Frankfurt that caused the gym to break out in an eruption of cheers. It basically sealed the game for them but he was emotionless and picked up our PG full court. His motor never stopped and I will always remember him for his intensity on both sides of the ball”, stressed Jason Boone. After hearing such a nice tribute, Tez returned the favor with his memories of the New York native. “He always set very tough screens and played aggressive defense. He and Jon Brockman were a very tough duo. For me he was top 3 if not the most physical center I ever played against in the BBL. He was strong and dedicated to being a physical force on the defensive end. He was also a good guy off the court. I remember he would come to our games when John Little was playing in Frankfurt. I remember talking to him in the VIP room and him having fun with the kids and joking around”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. Boone also remembers his one on one battles with ex NBA player Jon Brockman in practice and with Jon Bryant who was his toughest cover as a professional.. “I felt like I always had an advantage on every player I played against my whole career. I was either faster, stronger, smarter, in better shape. Something. But Brockman was something special. He was the only player I’ve played against where I had no clear advantage. But I learned so much from him. Only regret is that we didn’t play together longer and that we never had a chance to matchup in a real game one on one. I would have loved that battle John Bryant has one of the best sets of hands in Europe, without a doubt. He’s too tall and heavy to stop around the basket. And he can shoot all the way to the 3pt line. My approach was always to wear him out, make him run on defense but he knew how to take plays off and if I tried to use my speed and strength to beat him up, he was a master at getting the refs to call fouls. No one else comes to mind as immediate as him”, stressed Jason Boone. I could have sampled more quotes from former teammates and opponents, but this piece focuses more on his memories, but I did catch a quote from his ex teammate Adam Waleskowski to help spice up my piece a bit more. “Jason is one of the hardest working most resilient guys I know. He always had a smile on his face when he wasn´t competing on the court and was the type of person everybody wanted to be around. He was charismatic and enthusiastic in everything he did. He took hard coaching and criticism better than anyone I know. He is retiring from a long successful career and whereever the next step goes, I´m sure he will excel at it no matter what it is. We had a lot of great memories together throughout our careers. I wish him all the best as he starts that new chapter of his life”, stressed ex Floridia State center Adam Waleskowski.

            His most fondest time was with BG Goettingen and having the opportunity to have amazing moments on and off the court. I also predicted right that if I were to ask him who his list of five all-time teammates were that Ben Jacobsen would be on the list. It also didn´t surprise him that John Little was hired by the Milwaukee Bucks organization to be an assistant coach with their G-League affiliate Wisconsin Herd. “I may hurt some feelings with this one, but who cares, what can they do to me? Ben is first and foremost on that list. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that one. I would say that Porter Troupe and David McCray would make two and three. Brad Loesing of course, and my final spot would obviously go to John Little. Lot of guards on that list, but those guys I will forever view as brothers. We ALL knew that John was going to be a coach one day. He was the coach on the court every year I played with him. He’s the only guy I’ve ever known who could run every play from every position at morning shootaround. Anyone that has played for JP knows we don’t take a lot of shots at morning shootaround, it’s structured like a practice where you have to get actual stops, and Lit would be correcting our assistant coach on where the opposing four man starts the play. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.”, stressed Jason Boone.

            It is December 2019 and Jason Boone has left the basketball court and has began his second chapter in his life. He is even farther away from Germany now as he isn´t in New York anymore but in Los Angeles. He is working in marketing for the company Core and is happy with his new life. “I am enjoying this new chapter of the Jason Boone story, fun exciting challenges. Core was started by a female NYU basketball player who I was close with in college. I’m coordinating their social media until the product launches in the beginning of 2020. It’s interesting how the timing of things work out, I’m learning so much about mental health and wellness. But I’ll tell you what, not having to deal with that German style winter is the thing I’m most looking forward to here in LA”, stated Jason Boone. Now that he is far away from Germany and back in the States, he has more time and can watch the NBA at normal hours. He has the same opinion as I do that Slovenian Phenom Luka Doncic could become the greatest of all-time. “I try to watch a lot more NBA games now since I don’t have to stay up until 3am to see them live anymore. And with Maxi on the Mavs I’ve seen a lot more of Luka. I was fully under the impression that Giannis was going to be the next best player in the world when that LeBron class is all retired but this kid is something special. And we certainly may be talking about his as one of the best to ever do it. Let’s chill out with the best ever talk right now, but I’ll settle for a definite MVP and top two/three foreign player of all time”, warned Jason Boone.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jason Boone during halftime of a Fraport Skyliners Fiba Europe Cup game in Frankfurt in December 2015 as he was watching his friend John Little play

            The fans in Germany will always be dear to him, because they showed him a special love that not every player can say they ever got.from them. He wanted to give thanks to the fans and hope they remember him like this “I would want them to recognize the only three reasons I played basketball were to win, to have fun, and to make people happy. If I could accomplish those three things, then I did my job. I probably had more missed free throws than monster dunks but in the end I hope you enjoyed watching me compete every game. And please just remember there’s Only One Jason Boone”, stated Jason Boone. Before I give my own two cents about my memories, I have to thank Jason for showing me some love for my nonstop basketball media work. “You don’t ask the “typical” interview questions. I have to really sit and think about my answers to the things you ask. You’re nothing if not unique, so I suggest you keep carving your own lane in this field. Thank you for keeping up with me for that long and I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future”, added Jason Boone. Jason Boone will always be a very special player for me. Not only on the court, but also off the court. As a player he was a physical ruthless fighter that played as if he was in the trenches every game. I´ll never forget those games against Wurzburg where the games were low scoring and the players left the court after 40 minutes as if they had just fought their last battle. Ok so he couldn´t shoot the free throw, but so couldn´t Shaq, so what. But he could dunk and I enjoyed watching that display. I don´t know exactly how many interviews that we did, but it was in the vicinity of around 40-50. I remember the Eurochallenge season with BG Goettingen in 2010, we were doing interviews every week, sometimes twice. It was a crazy time, but he must of enjoyed it a little, otherwise he wouldn´t have done it. Sometimes I was intimidated by him, because he was a very good writer. I enjoyed reading his blog and I always wanted to ask the right questions. Now I am relieved that I did ask the right unique questions. And I have to be honest, from my 1,300 plus interviews that I have conducted with players, he is without a question top 5 of the best interview partners that I ever had. I don´t really have those special memories off the court, because the only time I conversed with him was after games and he would give me the great answers that every reporter wants. He was always friendly added with wit and humor that very few players have. I would of thought that he might go into show business. I mean he is in L.A and Hollywood is just around the corner and he has been in movies before. But who knows anything is possible so perhaps we might see him doing some acting again at one juncture or the next. I don´t know how it was in other BBL places, but I´m sure it wasn´t any different, but I can remember many female Skyliner fans were unable to resist him. Even I could see that his smile was irresistible. I can understand girls talking about him on a game day, but his name popped up even when he wasn´t playing Frankfurt. He once told me this in an interview in 2010 “Since childhood I’ve always dreamed about playing professional basketball, seeing the world, and going on a date with Stacey Dash. Two out of three isn’t bad is it“? Stacy Dash is taken, but it won´t be any different now in L.A with him being irresistible for the women. Without really knowing Jason Boone well, I know that he will be having the time of his life in L.A.

Follow Jason Boone here:  https://www.goodpillar.com/good-pillar/everyathletediestwice and follow on social media @blackhercules21

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