Konstantin The High Flyer Schubert Has Seen The Bigger Picture Choosing The Business World Over Basketball

It was a usual post game moment for me in Basketball City Mainhatten as I motioned Konstantin Schubert (200-SF-98) over to me for an interview. But he didn’t come right away. He wanted to greet his fan club. There had been about 15 family and friends at the game. There was a good reason why they were there. I’m the type of guy that usually likes to talk to one player of the Skyliners after games and usually it’s the same guy during the season as in the past I have enjoyed having guys like Phil Scrubb, Jason Clark or Quantez Robertson dissect basketball with me. With farm team Fraport Skyliners Juniors, I have mostly practiced the same procedure usually talking to one player in the past and usually the American whoever was on the team that season. Since this season there is no American, I decided to mostly talk with the charming German young man Konstantin Schubert who never denied an interview with me. On this Saturday evening a week before Christmas 2021, everything seemed normal to me, but it really wasn’t for Konstantin Schubert. He had just produced another superb game with 13 points and 14 boards (the second most rebounds in his career) in a blowout win against top team Dresden. As always he was flashing that million dollar smile that he has and then shock struck me when he said ‘this was my last game’. My first thought was why? This guy is only 23 years old and not even near his prime yet. It didn’t dawn to me right away, but that massive surprise moment I received reminded me of when Boris Becker told Pete Sampras after losing to him for the third straight time at Wimbledon in 1997 that that would be his last Wimbledon. Becker actually would play Wimbledon one more time in 1999 losing to Australian Patrick Rafter in the fourth round and then retire. I had always known that the German basketball player was a student so at second thought for him possibly making that next step and taking a possible new challenge off the court now didn’t seem strange to me. He decided to continue his masters in Oslo, Norway. He already knew some of the professors and they really wanted him to come. ‘It provides me with a unique opportunity to live in a new country that I never been in before. It is a step out of my comfort zone and will improve me as a human being but also help me with my studies’, stressed Konstantin Schubert.

Pete Sampras looking shocked as Boris Becker tells him that was his last Wimbledon after he lost to the American for the third straight time at Wimbledon

The forward who isn’t much of a movie freak, but remembers ‘Going in style’ as the last movie that he watched had been juggling basketball and school for years and the decision to leave the Fraport Skyliners organization where he had been a part of for 8 years wasn’t easy. ‘It was a very tough decision! Especially since I’ m currently playing my best season of my career. I wasn’t expecting to get the great opportunity to go to Oslo but it is a huge opportunity to prepare me for my time after Basketball. It was definitely challenging to combine studies and basketball, especially as you miss out on a lot of free time. I was able to come up with schedules to complete both basketball and studies. I was always prepared and mentally ready for the next task since I hadn’t had the chance to relax and lay down. But it provided me with the opportunity to become a good basketball player and also have a good career after basketball’, commented Konstantin Schubert. He only played 7 easyCredit BBL games and I could understand that he wanted a new challenge and get a real job in the real world that would pay him a lot better than a Pro B salary, but that didn’t even figure into his decision. ‘To be honest, I don’t think that this would have changed anything about my studies. Since I already started my studies when I was still playing in NBBL and only 18 years old. I always wanted to finish my studies and that was always my priority’, stated Konstantin Schubert. He also had the luxury of being around so many great people in the organization and also had teammates who were juggling school and basketball. People like Tim Oldenburg who like Schubert also had to make the decision to choose basketball or a normal job decided to become a police man. ‘Tim is one of my favorite team teammates of all time. I was really young back in the days when Tim was my teammate, but he was kind of a role model how he managed to do both his career next to basketball and basketball. For him personally going into the police and for me to do my studies. So, he showed me kind of the path that there’s a way to combine basketball and studies. I didn’t ask him with this decision, but I think he influenced me early on with how he acted and how he wanted to have both basketball and the career after basketball’, remembered Konstantin Schubert. I had the feeling all through the interview that he still isn’t ruling out coming back to basketball one day, but how else should he feel when he played the game he loves so much for his whole young life. But then again when push comes to shove, he most likely will turn his back on basketball. ‘I’m not sure what will happen when I graduate but I can say that it could be an option. I’m not willing to rule out any possibility but my step into the business world will come sooner than later’, warned Konstantin Schubert.

Konstantin Schubert who lists ex NBA player Nick Johnson as his toughest opponent in his basketball career was born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany and began his basketball career with BC New-Isenburg where he played a few seasons before coming to the Fraport Skyliners. It was only a matter of time before he would land in the Fraport Skyliners organization. As the famous American country singer Willie Nelson would say ‘The Fraport Skyliners were always on my mind’, said Konstantin Schubert. As a child, he was able to experience the Fraport arena as he had season tickets and visited every game. After the game he would race down to the court to take pictures with his idols and talk to them. ‘I always wanted to be play for them and one day be able to play in the Arena and take pictures with the fans after the games. And to be able to realize that dream, which I had since I was 10 years old is one of the biggest achievements, I made in my life this far’, remembered Konstantin Schubert. Like every little boy, he had his favorite players and he even had the luxury to later call one of them his teammate. ‘First, I must name Pascal Roller, as he was such a great player. Another Point Guard which I really liked was Dashaun Wood. Even though he was only in Frankfurt for one season, it was simply amazing to watch him play. And then it comes full circle again as you can’t talk about the Fraport Skyliners without mentioning Tez. To be able to share the court with him was a really nice moment for me’, stressed Konstantin Schubert. He began his career in Frankfurt with their youth team Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners and made his professional debut in the 2014-2015 season at the age of 16 with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors (Pro B) near the end of the season during the playoffs against the Rostock SeaWolves. He didn’t score in the first game playing 20 minutes, but in his second game, he demonstrated the talent that he had scoring 8 points in 15 minutes in the brutal 102-81 Loss. It was more than 6 years ago, but he remembers it as if it was yesterday. ‘I was really, really nervous! I knew when we made the long trip to Rostock that I probably will play but I didn’t know that it would be that much. And to be able to score quickly. Eight points in only 15 minutes was remarkable for me and I think it helped me a lot to be more confident in myself that I’m able to play at the age of 16 in the Pro B and I’m able to compete and that helped me a lot also in the summer then to improve my game and to be confident enough to say yeah, I can play at that level for sure I can’, remembered Konstantin Schubert.

The high flying forward who loves to run transition like a Quantez Robertson played his first full Pro B season in 2015-2016 averaging 14 minutes and 4,8ppg and 3,5rpg per game and right away set his mark in the first game of the season against Lich. In that game, he had to right away take responsibility at age 17 as the club had many sicknesses as a bug was going round. He stepped up playing 32 minutes and recorded his first double double of 12 points and 10 rebounds and added 2 steals and a block. A game like this was unbelievably important for his self-confidence. ‘It was amazing. It helped me to set a good tone for the season and show that I ‘m capable to become a good player for this team’, stressed Konstantin Schubert. He was also so very lucky having so many teammates that were so vital for his early development. Teammates like Niklas Kiel, Garai Zeeb, Stefan Ilzhoefer and Max Merz all became easyCredit BBL players and he couldn’t have found better mentors and young men helping him grow on and off the court. ‘I think all of them had a big influence on me. But if I have to pick somebody, it probably is Niklas or Garai. Because I spent the most time with them because they were my age. And especially with Niklas I worked a lot with because we played a similar position. He was so good, and I learned so much from him. But it was also amazing to share the court with Stefan and Max. With Max I remember one evening sitting in a hotel in Tuebingen around Christmas time. And we decided to go downstairs into the lobby and got a table there and started working on our study stuff. How he managed to transition from the basketball court into the business world is amazing to me and he is definitely a role model to me. In the end I’m just proud to have played with those guys’, stressed Konstantin Schubert. But it wasn’t only the young German teammates that had a massive impact on his game, but there was also the elder gentleman Marius Nolte. I had to gulp when I read that it has been more than 5 years since Marius Nolte played his last Pro B game and retired. I guess I’m getting old and time really does fly. You couldn’t ask for a better guy to have as a teammate than Marius Nolte. I conducted my first interview with him in 2006 in Paderborn and like Konstantin will always have fond memories of the big man. ‘Marius is a great guy. His game was so much about hustle. He just wanted it more than his opponents and he was willing to do the dirty work. He always wants to win. If it’s scrimmage in practice or a real game he always wanted to win. I was able to share the court with him at his last game in the Pro B Final in Urspring. He had an amazing career, and he was one of those guys I took pictures with when I was a kid with a season ticket. I still have a photo of him and myself when I was 14 years old or even younger’, said Konstantin Schubert. He scored in double figures in 4 games that season including hitting Saarlouis for 16 points in a win.

The 203cm forward who lists Cosmo Gruehn, Michael Fuss, Alvin Onyia, Mike Morrison, and Tim Oldenburg as his best five teammates of all-time arrived in the 2016-2017 season which would be a huge season in his career. He upped his status in the Pro B team, was a central player on the NBBL (U-19) team where he became an allstar and played together with future NBA player Isaac Bonga and Cosmo Gruehn and he would play his first easyCredit BBL game against top team FC Bayern Munich. ‘ That was kind of my breakout season. I always had the goal in mind to be an NBBL allstar. My first BBL game was also a big dream come through and was also on my bucket list. So, I had a lot of checks on my bucket list in that year. The nervousness against FC Bayern Munich was huge. I mean, we were down big. So, I mentally prepared myself that there could be an opportunity arising for me to get some minutes and to get my first BBL minutes. I remember most about that game that AJ English had a crazy fourth quarter crazy. I think he scored 22 points just in the fourth. He also passed me the ball for my three-point attempt and I remember after the game when we were going to the hotel and getting food, he was like, damn Konsti I was looking for you’, smiled Konstantin Schubert. There aren’t many young German players that have had the opportunity to share the court on a daily basis and hang out with a future NBA player the way he did with Isaac Bonga. I remember at times in the 2016-2017 season checking the NBA mock drafts and seeing Bonga second to the great Luka Doncic from European players. Schubert was able to experience from close hand how Bonga dealt with all the hoopla and commotion. ‘I remember that time pretty well. I remember personally when the Lakers, GM Rob Pelinka was in the Fraport arena, and we were sitting in the VIP lounge after the game, and he was asking me how Isaac is off the court and how he’s as a human being. It was amazing to see how Isaac responded to all the pressure. I mean, he just continued playing and he didn’t mind at all what other guys were saying how many scouts were there at practice etc. He was just focusing to become a better player. I’m still in contact with him to this point, and it’s just amazing how well he has evolved over the time and it’s always nice to see him when he’s back in Frankfurt’, stressed Konstantin Schubert. If you didn’t know Isaac Bonga personally then you didn’t know how he was off the court. On the court he seemed so focused. I think I saw him smile three times during that season, but off the court he was a different person. ‘I think he is more of a quiet guy in basketball settings. He is just focusing on the basketball court because he’s really determined to win. But if he is with his teammates and friends, he is also a guy who starts singing and dancing. So, he’s really outgoing. I still have a good relationship with him to this point’, expressed Konstantin Schubert. In the Pro B he heightened his minutes to 21 minutes and increased his stats to 7,1ppg, 4,5rpg and 1,9apg. He scored in double figures in seven games including 16 points apiece against FC Bayern Munich and Wurzburg.

The highlight of his career was in 2017-2018 as he became a easyCredit BBL player and had his second best Pro B season. He played 6 BBL games that season scoring his only BBL bucket against Bayreuth and in the Pro B he increased his minutes to 23 and averaged 8,3ppg, 4,1rpg and 1,8apg. ‘This season was the next step for me personally. I was able to be full time BBL and I didn’t even practice once with the Pro B team. I just practiced with the BBL team and was at almost every game. Even though I only played in six games, I was there for every practice and for almost every game’, stated Konstantin Schubert. Even if he only scored 2 easyCredit BBL points, it is something that nobody will ever be able to take away from him. There are 1000’s of guys in Germany that would die to play in the BBL. He will never forget his lone basket against medi Bayreuth. ‘I actually have a clip of those two points stored at my phone, but I don’t look at it too much. But it’s in my back pocket and I will for sure, go back to it when it’s all said and done’, said Konstantin Schubert. In that game he played against the likes of Nate Linhart and Demon Brooks who became established pro’s overseas and Gabe York who recently signed with the Orlando Magic as he has benefited from COVID with so many NBA players being out. I personally always thought that he had a BBL body and could develop slowly into a solid BBL player. Head coach Gordon Herbert gave him a chance to play. ‘Konstantin is a great kid that has a tremendous work ethic and really good knowledge of the game. He was great for the Pro B and was always ready to help the BBL team when needed. It was a pleasure to work with him and I’m wishing him all the best going forward’, warned German national team coach Gordon Herbert. It was a shame that he wasn’t able to make a BBL career like other players. ‘ In the end it was my body since I was facing a lot of injuries problems during my career’, stressed Konstantin Schubert. In the Pro B he scored in double figures in 9 games that season and saved his best for last averaging 17,0ppg and 7,0rpg in the playoff series against Bochum which Frankfurt lost. He scored 21 and 18 points in the series and had some other good games dropping 18 points against Schwelm and 17 points against Wurzburg. ‘I remember that series well. The first game against Bochum is probably one of my top two games that I ever-played in. We were down by numbers, and nobody believed in us. To then go to overtime with a three-point buzzer beater from Michael Fuss and then win it in OT was a great feeling! And yeah, I played personally well, too, but I’m still a little upset that we lost that series’, commented Konstantin Schubert.

For the German who lists Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, and Wilt Chamberlain on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore knows one of the worst things about being a professional athlete is having to deal with injuries. This was something that he couldn’t avoid. From 2018-2021, he suffered injuries and played only 24 pro B games. In 2020-2021, he played only one game against Erfurt registering 6 points and 6 rebounds, but suffered a metatarsal fracture in his foot ending his season. So did all the injury woes have an influence on him ending basketball now and going to Oslo for the next chapter in his life. ‘The injuries were really challenging! It was a long rehab and it was tough to continue to push to continue to get treatment, to work out, to keep me mentally prepared that there will be an opportunity arising at some point. And I’m so happy that I didn’t give up that I kept grinding and being able to play this season that well as I’m playing. Having almost career highs in rebounds and achieved a new career high in points. So, the hard work was worth it. My decision to go to Oslo was not about my injuries but sure maybe if I hadn’t had the injuries I would be in a different position right now and maybe would go a different way with my career’, stressed Konstantin Schubert. To go out on a high now is huge for the German because as he was having his bast season as a professional player. He finished 2021-2022 having played 13 games averaging 12,5ppg, 5,2rpg and 2,2apg. He scored 23 points back to back against Karlsruhe and Speyer and socred a career high 24 points in his last game an exciting 83-81 victory against FC Bayern Munich 2 Now one has to wonder if he will get second doubts about stopping to play and wonder what would have been had he continued to play? ‘I would actually say it is the other way around I’m really happy that I was able to come back after two devastating injuries and to be able to show everybody that I still got it. Oslo is the next step for me on my way to the business world and who knows what will happen next year’, said Konstantin Schubert. He also was very fortunate to have been able to play together with his brother Bennet Schubert. ‘It was always a goal to play together with my brother. In rehab it motivated me a lot to reach this goal and one of the main reasons why I wanted to continue to play. I’m really proud of how he has developed into a great player and I’m sure that in the future he will be even better’, warned Konstantin Schubert. Two guys that were so important in his basketball career were Niklas Kiel who had a huge influence on him when he was 16-17 years old and helped him improve and he took a lot from his game and of course German head coach Sebastian Gleim who currently is making waves with the Hakro Merlins. ‘If Sebastian wouldn’t have believed in me, I wouldn’t be in the position as I’m today. It’s as simple as that. I’m extremely grateful what he did for me! He took me under his wing and helped me develop early on coming out of JBBL. He believed in me and helped to improve my game so much. He worked a lot with me really long hours, individual workouts and he really believed that I could become a good player. He helped me grow on the basketball court but also off the basketball court. I’m still in contact with him and ask him for advice’, added Konstantin Schubert. ‘Konstantin Schubert is for me and my coaching career the best example for a young man and player that got the most out of his personal limit. He recognized this and never gave up. I really appreciated coaching him’, stated Sebastian Gleim.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Konstantin Schubert in 2021 in the BCM arena in Frankfurt

Konstantin Schubert played 8 years in the Fraport Skyliners organization and it was his family. He was a huge part of the youth program at a time where the organization was known as having the best youth program in Germany. He then became one of the key German players year for year in the Pro B. Not only did he grow on the court, but he also developed from a young teenager into a man. He will never forget this experience. ‘I grew from a boy into a man being a Fraport Skyliner and I really embraced the role to be the local guy from Frankfurt. Like mentioned before I was a fan of the team growing up and I will continue to be a fan for the rest of my life. I will stay in contact and I’m grateful for all the great people I have met during my 8 years in the organization! Especially I want to mention Sid at this point and thank him for all the help during the years’, stressed Konstantin Schubert. I will always have very fond memories of Konstantin Schubert. I like to get excited when Fraport Skyliners make big plays and baskets during my play by play commentary and have to admit, I’m a bit sad that I first came up with my special nickname Konstantin ‘The High Flyer’ Schubert nickname in this season. I really would have enjoyed yelling it more during big three’s or dunks. For me he was a player that was a modern day power forward. A guy that could bang inside and a lot of times would fight and scoop down rebounds over two or three defenders stronger than him, but his wit and anticipation got him the ball, but he also never was shy to step outside and bang home a three pointer. His defense and passing was underrated and probably my favorite part of his game was when he sprinted down the court on transition like a deer and finished the fast break with a lethal dunk. He didn’t look like a basketball player as he was very clean cut and looked more like a young professor or a young Charlie Sheen with blond hair form the movie Wall Street. I covered him for 8 years and it was a pleasure. I’m very happy that he was able to notice my work over the years. ‘For me you are a big part of my journey! You were there at almost every game, and I enjoyed our interviews after the games a lot! I will always remember how much energy and passion you gave while commentating the games. You knew every stat even when a player was new in the league. I’m thankful for the great articles and will remember you as a great guy who loves the game and puts a lot of effort to promote how great it is’, said Konstantin Schubert. I’m sure that he will go his way and be successful in the professional world off the court. All the best Konsti and please don’t forget basketball. You will be missed.

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