I Will Always Remember Larry Gordon By His Nonending Rebounding Effort And Relentless Patience With My Interviews

Some guys come and go and just don’t leave a lasting impression on you while then again there are other incredible players that leave a deep rooted feeling in you that you just won’t ever shake. One of those players is Larry Gordon (196-F-87, college: CPP). He is that player that has the ability to catch your eye the very first time that you ever watch him. Even if his rebounding was eye popping, he had that complete offensive game that was also enforced with a vicious three pointer that could always change the impact of the game in many ways. His three seasons with Phoenix Hagen from 2012-2015 were very defining for his career as he was able to make the next step there after proving he could ball in lower leagues in Holland and Austria. In those three years in Germany he become an elite small forward and BBL allstar. He had a 500 record against the Fraport Skyliners with Phoenix Hagen who I have covered since 2004 averaging 16ppg and 9,0rpg in those six games. I remember the first interview that I did with him as it was in his first season in the easyCredit BBL with Phoenix Hagen on October 25, 2012. He spoke about how he molded his rebounding after beast Kevin Love saying his secret to grabbing the ball away from a Quantez Robertson, John Bryant or Johannes Voigtmann had to do with heart and relentless effort and he also sensed a difference in dialect between people in Hagen and in Austria where he had last played. 9 years after their first meeting Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson remembers his battles with him as if it was yesterday. ‘I remember Larry as being strong, quick and a very good good shooter. We always battled hard against each other. There might have been a few times where he sneaked by me and got an offensive rebound. He was just a cool dude to play against’, remembered ex Auburn (NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson. He also knew early on that he and Davin White would gel on the court quickly. ‘ Davin is really quick and agile. He can pretty much get anywhere he wants on the court with no problem and has excellent court vision’, stressed Larry Gordon in 2012. That wasn’t the last time that I would talk with Larry Gordon as 40 more interviews would follow. He always gave very interesting and very well thought out answers and I just bombarded the guy with interviews for years and it didn’t dawn to me until now how he could of put up with me for so long with all the pesky interviews. I just believed it would go on and on with our interviews and it did. He was always willing to cooperate and answer my questions after a win or loss. ‘Man that’s crazy, I didn’t even know you kept count. It has always been a pleasure to do your interviews’, stressed Larry Gordon. I will always remember him as a very versatile player and probably the best rebounder at 196cm that the easyCredit BBL ever saw. Recently I heard that he had retired after 13 professional seasons and 393 games and 183 games in the German easyCredit BBL. After doing so many interviews with me, it was obvious that he wouldn’t forget me. ‘I’ll remember you as the best sports interviewer in my career’, expressed Larry Gordon. Nine years later after Larry Gordon and Davin White were teammates, the flashy point guard who garnered ACB experience never lost love for his former teammate. ‘Larry Gordon was not only a basketball player, but he was a brother to me. I watched him grow as a man/husband/father. We always kept in contact I followed his career and watched how he turned from the young guy to the vet. Lol! Going to miss seeing you lace them up my brother! Good luck in whatever god holds for you after you hoop’, stated Davin White.

Larry Gordon who currently is in Las Vegas, Nevada was born on April 18th, 1987 in Pomona, California and began his basketball career at Montclair high school in California and then played at Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) from 2005-2009 playing a total of 116 games. He put up massive stats in his last two years there averaging 16,0ppg and 9,0rpg and reached the NCAA 2 final in 2009. He played under the legendary head coach Greg Kamansky who was instrumental in his early development there and grooming him for the pro ranks. ‘Just being mentally prepared for a whole other different perspective on professional basketball. He told me that this is now a job, a business and you have to produce if you want to keep your job. So that was always something I kept in my mind and carried with me during my career. Pro basketball is fun, but at the same time it is a business and if your not taking care of business then it won’t be fun and there will be no job’, stressed Larry Gordon. There he also played for the first time with a German player named Tobias Jahn not knowing that many more would come in the years to follow. ‘His personality was definitely not what I expected being the first foreign player I played with, but he was a great guy, lots of enthusiasm and he can always brighten up a day with just the way he was. My best memory of Tobi is when we played against BYU-Hawaii for the Regional Championship back in 09 and there was a player being hyped of that Tobi had to face. And in that first half, he had Tobi’s number but in that second half, Tobi turned it up a notch and helped us secure the win’, remembered Larry Gordon.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Larry Gordon at the 2014 BBL Allstar game

The American who lists Davin White, David Bell, Kyle Fogg, John Bryant, Mark Dorris and Jerry Smith as his best teammates ever in Germany . then turned professional in 2009 and played a very strong rookie season in Holland with Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie) playing 36 games averaging 14.0ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 75.8%. He then took up a new challenge in Austria with the ECE Bulls Kapfenberg (Austria-A Bundesliga) playing two seasons totaling 73 games and upping his game averaging 10.4ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 66.7% and in his second year averaged 14.7ppg, Reb-3 (8.4rpg), 1.8apg, FGP-3 (65.2%), 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 77.1%. Going to new countries and higher leagues was something Larry Gordon flourished at and he then made the jump to Germany to Phoenix Hagen. There he played for a club that at that moment in time had been known as constructing shoot out games in the run and style of head coach Ingo Freyer. He had many great scoring teammates like Davin White, David Bell, and Mark Dorris and he fit in nicely. The American knew that his play would have been as successful in another system distant from the run and gun play. ‘Of course, at the end of the day I’m a ball player. I can play any style of basketball, I just so happened to super excel in the run and gun style. But I had success as you saw in Portugal which was far from run and gun’, stressed Larry Gordon. He put up fantastic stats in his three seasons with Phoenix Hagen averaging 12.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 83.2% in his first season, 15.5ppg, Reb-2 (7.6rpg), 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 89.5% in his second season that earned him a BBL Allstar appearance and 14.0ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 72.1% in his last season. In 101 games with Phoenix Hagen he showed his consistent colors scoring in double figures in 78 games. He beat Alba Berlin twice and will always cherish those times. ‘Yea that’s what I loved about Germany. Even when I played the big teams, all that mattered was who came ready to play. And that’s how we beat Berlin and Bamberg. The only team I never beat in the BBL was the power FC Bayern Munich’, remembered Larry Gordon. He remained in Germany and took on a new challenge in 2015-2016 balling with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven averaging 10.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 84.3%. There he didn’t score as lethally as with Phoenix Hagen, but was still versatile and had his three pointer on the mark being able to shoot out the lights. He had a lot of scoring talent there including Kyle Fogg one of many great guards who should have been in the NBA, but is a perfect example of so many talented guards that never made the NBA because of too little roster spots. ‘He is a perfect example but it is what it is. But guys like him are really starting to realize how they can have very good careers overseas as well as get paid while doing it’, commented Larry Gordon.

He then split the 2016-2017 season with Sonic Boom KT (Korea-KBL) averaging 14.9ppg, 6.2rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 51.3%, 3FGP: 35.6%, FT: 82.1%, and then moved to SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-BBL) where he could quite find that Gordon magic of Phoenix Hagen averaging 6.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 69.2%. There he played with Mr ballerina Derrick Allen who is one of the best role models a young player can ever have. ‘His best quality I feel is his work ethic. He had a great work ethic and I’m sure he will translate that to his coaching’, added Larry Gordon. After two tough seasons with Bremerhaven and going a combined 2-34 in Korea and Rasta Vechta where he literally couldn’t buy a win one only had to wonder where his future would go. Well his agent Gerrit Kerstin-Thiele from Scorers First did absolutely everything correct finding him an amazing opportunity with BK Astana (Kazakhstan-National League) where he not only won his first professional title, but added a second as he won the league and cup championship averaging 14.6ppg, 8.0rpg, 4.4apg, 2.1spg, 2FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 72.2% and played in one of Europe’s top leagues VTB averaging 8.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 74.3%. Even though he didn’t beat top Euroleague team CSKA, he battled against some of the worlds best players with Sergio Rodriguez, Nando de Colo and Kyle Hines and ex NBA players Othelo Hunter and Corey Higgins. He then came back to the easyCredit BBL one more time for the 2018-2019 season and played with the Giessen 46ers averaging 11.0ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 57.2%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 81.4%. There he came together with two BBL legends with Jared Jordan and John Bryant. It is no secret that he most likely never played with a better point guard or center then them. ‘I got to meet up with John here in Vegas a few weeks ago. He is definitely one of the best bigs I played with. And Jared’s court vision is unbelievable’, said Larry Gordon.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Larry Gordon after his last BBL game with Giessen against Frankfurt in 2019

So let’s fast forward to 2021. He played the last two seasons in Israel, Romania and Portugal. In 2019-2020 he split time with Hapoel Eilat (Israel-Winner League) playing 13 games averaging 5.1ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 41.0%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 50.0%, and then moved to BC CSU Sibiu (Romania-Liga Nationala) playing 2 games averaging 9,0ppg, 8,5rpg, 1,5apg, 1,0spg, 1,obpg. I have spoken too many Americans over the years and 9 out of 10 guys, no actually 10 out of 10 times, they say that the weather and the food was the best, but for Larry Gordon he had a third that was the greatest. ‘The birth of my son was the best thing in Israel’. Back in his VTB year in Kazakhstan, he played against CSKA Moscow one of the best Euroleague teams, but did his battle against Maccabi Tel Aviv stack up talent wise with the Russian squad? He held his own scoring 9 points in a 102-86 loss to top Euroleague team Maccabi Tel Aviv that was stacked with guys like Scottie Wilbekin, Othello Hunter, Deni Avdija, Quincy Acy, Nate Wolters, Elijah Bryant and Omri Casspi. ‘Maccabi for sure is up there, but CSKA Moscow will be the most talented team I played against. Deni & Elijah were my matchups and they both were very good young players’, added Larry Gordon. He played his last professional season in 2020-2021 with FC Porto finishing in style putting up fine stats averaging 12,9ppg, 6,6rpg, 2,1apg, 1,0spg while shooting a respectable 38% from the parking lot. Being able to close out his professional career with a traditional organization like FC Porto was perfect except for one thing. ‘It was a very good experience. I think it would have been much better if it wasn’t for COVID-19. Not having the fans sucked. The club was professional, didn’t have too many issues’, stated Larry Gordon. Reaching two finals wasn’t an easy way to go out. ‘It’s tough but I feel like I went out on top. I had a great individual season, a great team season, won a championship. All great things. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to go back and have a revenge season and compete for the National Championship’, stressed Larry Gordon. He scored in double figures in 22 games including a 30 point explosion against Sporting that was crowned with a 81-78 victory. With so many great games in his career ranking that as one of his top 5 best of all-time was difficult. ‘I’m not even sure. I know I had a few 30pt double doubles in my career. I was a beast’, warned Larry Gordon. He went out losing a brutal 5 game series loss to Sporting Lisabon where the team lost three of five games by only a combined score of 7 points. ‘I only remember the last game and how we lost. It was the worst ending to any game I’ve ever played in my life. It was worse than losing by buzzer’, remembered Larry Gordon.

Who knows where Larry Gordon who feels like they should have left the classic movie Coming To America alone would have been right now had COVID not come? He may have been back to Germany for another season or somewhere else. The pandemic had an effect on him choosing to hang them up. ‘It was a difficult decision but I made the best decision for me and my family. Without Covid I probably would have played 2 more seasons’, warned Larry Gordon. Having to put up with COVID was tough for him just like everyone else. It is very respectable that he could still flourish as a player in Portugal despite all the COVID drama. ‘We were in some pretty strict restrictions out there for most of the season. I had to do a covid test almost every week. It’s was challenging but I persevered and just kept grinding’, stressed Larry Gordon. Despite all the troubles with COVID, he was able to grow further as a man and contemplate the future. COVID wasn’t the only reason he decided to retire. He wanted to go out in style and not be remembered as a guy who played in some lower league. It would have been cool if his ex teammate Derrick Allen would have called and offered him a roster spot with Rasta Vechta, but no call ever came. ‘I would have said yes without blinking. Germany holds a special place in my heart. The deciding reason was mainly the markets. I was not receiving the offers I thought I deserved, and I wasn’t going to play more seasons with out being paid my worth, it’s just that simple’, expressed Larry Gordon.

So what will be the next step for Larry Gordon? Could he remain in basketball or will his path lead down a totally different road? ‘I’ve dedicated 20+ years to the game and it’s time for me to do something different and impact the world a different way’, warned Larry Gordon. It is no secret that he will always be remembered in Germany and his time there definitely shaped his game. ‘I can’t express enough of how much I loved Germany and playing in the BBL. I wish I could have ended my career there. But Germany was the main anchor in how I developed as a player. Played against top notch players every season. I loved it’, said Larry Gordon. His ex coach Steven Wriedt also will never forget him and surely will always have many memories of him torturing players in the paint. ‘Larry was the ultimate professional on and off the court. Which is proven by such a long and successful career. He is a great family guy and teammate. It was a pleasure to work with him. He was also one of the best Rebounding small fowards to ever play in the BBL. He had a great feeling for Rebounding’, stressed Steven Wriedt. ‘ It was between him and Immanuel Mcelroy as being the best rebounders at that height’, stated Immanuel Mcelroy. One person that was so important in his career was his agent Gerrit Kersten-Thiele and CEO of the well known German agency Scorers 1st. ‘He was big time, he helped me get to where I wanted to be in my career. And honestly couldn’t have done it with out him and Scorers1st’, remembered Larry Gordon. ‘Larry was a class act on and off the court. He was a super player that was always convincing in his game with his versatility athleticism and dependance. Even though he was a great player, his personality was even more impressive. He was an absolute family man that was 100% loyal and honest at every moment in his career. He always wanted that place that was best for his family and career. Money was also important, but it was never a reason why he made decisions’, stressed Gerrit Kersten-Thiele. Now after 13 seasons, fans around the globe and especially in Hagen can reflect on the fantastic moments they had with him. ‘I want them to remember me as a player who gave his all to his team and teammates and always came to compete no matter what’, stated Larry Gordon. I know that there won’t be any doubts in Hagen about his closing words.

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