Ricky Easterling(Saarlouis) I used Kobe Bryant As An Example For Myself In the Effort To Become The Best Player I Can Be

 Ricky Easterling is a 36 year old 189cm guard that is playing his 14th professional season and 12th with SG DJK Saarlouis-Roden/BBF Dillingen (Germany-Regionalliga) currently averaging 24,9ppg, 5,9rpg and 5,0apg. He is known as Mr Regionalliga as he has belonged to the top players in the Regionalliga for more than a decade. He has averaged more than 20 points each season and even exploded in 2011-2012 avergaing 34,0ppg and 32,0ppg in the 2009-2010 season. He also schowed that he could lead the Pro B in socring with SG DJK Saarlouis-Roden/BBF Dillingen (Germany-Regionalliga) as he did it twice in his career. He gave germanhoops.com an interview concerning his memories of Kobe Bryant. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Ricky Easterling in a post game interview in 2016 in Frankfurt

Where were you and how did you find about the death of Kobe Bryant? 

I woke up Monday morning at home in Saarlouis and saw a message in my teams whatsapp group. Checked it and saw the terrible news. 

When I heard about it, I thought it was a hoax. What were your first thoughts when you heard about it? 

Once I seen the message my first thought was also ‘this must be a hoax’. There is no way in the world Kobe is dead! After that I immediately opened up my social media outlets and the news was everywhere. Every post I saw was about Kobe andh is daughter.

How much of your day the day after did you take informing yourself about his death and watching videos? 

At first it was hard for me to watch the videos. It kind of hit me hard. I was shocked, sad, and in disbelief. I didn’t want to accept this to be true. So I tried to stay away from all the videos and articles. But like I said this news was everywhere and there was no hiding from it. It was literally everywhere I looked. So after a couple days of trying to stay away from it I finally gave in and went full out investigation mode and watched and read everything I came a cross regarding the situation. 

You were born in 1983. Can you remember about when you first knew about Kobe Bryant and what was your first impression of him as a kid?

I was born in 1983. So I am familiar with Kobe’s entire career. I even saw him play live a couple times growing up. I always was a Kobe fan. So I saw him get drafted. We both wear number 8 and I have been playing in Kobe shoes almost my entire career starting back In high school when he first signed a shoe deal with Adidas. I also remember his rookie season like it was yesterday. His rookie year I was fortunate to see him play against the Washington Wizards in DC. He didn’t play much in that game because it was his rookie year and he played behind some good players like Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel. But he did play and when he did I was a very happy watching one of my favorite players live in action. 

How did your love for Kobe Bryant develop over time as you got through childhood and high school? 

I was a fan since day 1 so my love for Kobe didn’t need to develop haha! But I enjoyed watching him and seeing him evolve as a player throughout his career. I even stole his dribble pull up. (which he stole from MJ). These years with the Lakers and Celtics was a good time for the basketball world. Boston’s big 3 was a beast and the Lakers dynamic Duo was a pleasure to witness. Great generation of basketball! They got the Lakers the first time but I knew once the Lakers lost, Kobe and Shaq was going to redeem themselves the next season. And that is exactly what happened! 

Kobe Bryant was for so many the greatest ever. What did you appreciate most about his game? Was he a guy that you pretended to be on the playgrounds? 

I personally don’t think he is the greatest but he definitely is in the conversation. What I appreciated about Kobe was his work ethic and mamba mentality. These two things he is very well known for and I used him as an example for myself in the effort to become the best player I can be. Of course these attributes are the basis of being successful in sport but he was the perfect living example of this, and he influenced me to also approach the game and life in this way. 

Kobe Bryant had so many amazing games like his 81 points and countless other games where it was lights out as well as winning 5 titles. What is your fondest memory of him of what he did on the court? 

Yeah these moments that you mention where great moments in his career. But 1 play that I will never forget is in his rookie preseason I believe. It was one of those NBA international games where they played outside the USA. He had the ball at the top of the key. He was wearing his Kobe 1 Adidas shoes and he gave his defender a killer crossover and penetrated through the middle and dunked on the big man. I can’t remember who the victim was but it was nasty! And that was 1 of the first amazing plays I remember from Kobe’s career. 

The outpouring of sadness was incredible in the last 24 hours. Guys were crying and leaving heart felt messages on Social Media. How long do you think it will take until the basketball world comes to terms with this tragedy? 

I believe this tragedy will be talked about for a while! Can not really put a time on it. Something like this hits hard because of how influential he was to the game and to the fans! I wouldn’t be surprised if we still regularly mention him and this tragic moment for years to come.

When you look back in 20 years on the career of Kobe Bryant how will you remember his legacy best? 

I will remember him as one of the all time greats. The 2nd best shooting guard in NBA history behind Michael Jordan. And also the perfect example of what hard work is and how it pays off for someone who exercises this mindset. 

One of my last questions in my standard interviews is what is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Often players remind me that I left out Kobe Bryant.I have been thinking about this a lot in the last. How worthy is a Kobe Bryant to be seen as the greatest of all-time? 

I kind of mentioned this in one of the previous questions. But Jordan is my all time greatest player and after that I can start to mention Kobe. To be real Kobe modelled/ copied Jordan’s game to the max. Was basically the clone of MJ. So because of that simple fact, Jordan has that GOAT title locked down in my opinion 

My last question isn’t what is the last movie you saw, but what video of Kobe Bryant will you take a look again when you have some time to look back at his great career? 

Actually last Tuesday or Wednesday I believe. One of my best friends and me had a Remembering Kobe chill session and we watched the documentary from Spike Lee called ‘Kobe Doin Work’. Just listening to him talk about the game is amazing. He has such a high IQ that I find myself amazed as I watch it! I definitely take in everything he says and use it in my own life as a captain of my team here in Saarlouis.

Thanks Ricky for sharing your own personal memories of Kobe Bryant.

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