When you look back the last 30 years and try to list the top NBA jersey retirement ceremonies, you won’t be able to get around Lakers players. I would have loved to have been a fly and snuck into the LA Forum to have seen guys like Kareem and Magic get their numbers hoisted. Seeing Larry Bird’s legendary #33 go up in the Boston Garden in 1993 is one I only was able to capture on You Tube. But I finally saw my first jersey retirement recently and it was one that was simply amazing. June 4th was a night that I will never forget. I was in Oldenburg and was blessed to have witnessed the farewell game and jersey retirement of Rickey Paulding. The 6,500 plus Oldenburg arena was packed and the atmosphere was breathtaking. I sat there and was simply speechless at times how incredibly well the EWE Baskets organization prepared the evening and really had that glitz that couldn’t really have been performed better by an NBA team. I remember taking some video’s during the ceremony and sending them to Fraport Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson (188-G-1984, college: Auburn, agency: Interperformances) who recently finished his 13th season and will come back next season for a 14th season. He also was amazed by the ambience. ‘It was great to see the kind of tribute for Rickey. I almost felt like a regular season game before Covid. It is awesome to see how many ex teammates and opponents came to play in his farewell game. They asked me to play but I couldn’t come. It was crazy to see his number get hoisted to the rafters. It must have been a great feeling for him’, stressed Quantez Robertson. I thought that Tez may hang it up after last season, but then again the temptation to be the sole easyCredit BBL identity figure was too great after Paulding, Per Guenther and Alex King all retired in the same year. ‘When I heard about them finishing their career, I was sure that I would come back’, added Quantez Robertson. He now is all alone in the driver’s seat and is ready for the challenge as the BBL identity figure this season. ‘It is wild knowing that I’m the BBL identity figure. I’m sure that in a few years there will be somebody else. It will be weird not seeing Rickey and the other guys this season. I won’t feel any pressure. I know that guys will be gunning for me and me as the old guy will have to show that I can still play at a high level. I will be ready and very motivated’, warned Quantez Robertson.
I reach Quantez Robertson a day before one of America’s biggest holidays the fourth of July. As usual there is a lot of noise in the back ground as Tez is busy with his kids. The ex Auburn (NCAA) freak athlete may be half way around the world, but he obviously had heard about the Fraport Skyliners new signing of head coach Geert Hammink and had also already spoken to him. I didn’t even have to give an intro to the Dutch man as he enthusiastically was able to give his 2 cents about his next coach. His former coaches Gordon Herbert, Muli Katzurin, Sebastian Gleim, Diego Ocampo and Luca Dalmonte have had interesting bio’s, but with Geert Hammink, Tez will work with a guy that has special ties to NBA legend Shaq. ‘I know new coach is a 7 footer and played at LSU behind Shaq. He then was drafted behind Shaq. I think that that is pretty comical. He also told me that he was the first Fiba agent in 2007’, said Quantez Robertson. Having a guy like Hammink who formed agency Court Side, the Fraport Skyliners could have more luck with future players that are signed. ‘His knowledge and experience having been an agent might help us. He knows players well and knows what can help a team. This could be a very positive thing’, stated Quantez Robertson.
After a less than satisfactory last season, 2000 BBL cup winner Fraport Skyliners want to get back on the winning road. New head coach Geert Hammink may not have been a coach long yet, but what his track record shows so far is very good. In the last 2 seasons as head coach of Dutch first division team Leiden, he was able to bring home 3 titles. The Dutch first league isn’t at the same level as the easyCredit BBL, but still his record and success the last few years brings hope to an organization that wants to taste success again. ‘His success in Holland gives me hope for the future. He is used to winning and expects a lot from his players. I think he will bring his winning mentality and good caliber players. I think that his coaching will light a fire for us. I’m sure that we will be ready to play’, warned Quantez Robertson. Hammink is a coach that likes for his team to give their opponents disorder and play with authority. The American doesn’t care what system coach will play and will take on any challenge. ‘I have played for many coaches and seen many different systems. I’m ready for anything he wants to play. I have adjusted to many systems and it won’t be a problem having to do it again’, stressed Quantez Robertson. It will be interesting what kinds of players Hammink will bring in this summer. Allowing Tez to choose some players he would prefer is about as difficult as predicting when the current Kevin Durant hate in the States will erode. ‘I would love to play with so many guys. But there are simply too many to be able to chose some’, expressed Quantez Robertson.
For Tez who lists current NBA champion Steph Curry as a current top 5 best point guard of all-time is a guy who loves to spend his off season enjoying the time with his family and friends in Alabama and sometimes has neglected his off season work outs as in the past hasn’t come back in the best of shape. But with him not getting any younger as he will turn 38 in December, he knows that he has to be brutally focused during the dog days of summer and be grinding in the lab. An interesting question for any basketball player is always how long did he go without touching a basketball when he returned home. ‘I didn’t touch a basketball in 3 weeks. But I did stay in shape. My kids play softball and baseball. I was always ripping and running with the kids during those weeks’, laughed Quantez Robertson. But when it comes down to taking care of business, Tez is no sloutch. On the court he is always a bundle of energy that will run down every ball and leave his heart on the court. This off season he has a good plan that will make Geert Hammink smile when he observes the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner sprinting on the track for the first time in Frankfurt in August. ‘I play basketball in the morning and do running in the afternoon. In about a week, I will begin doing cross fit training. Don’t worry, I will be in shape and ready when I return to Frankfurt’, warned Quantez Robertson. Being fit will be vital for the success of Tez this season, but so will be his three point percentage which was at it’s lowest last season since the 2011-2012 season. His focus and determination to have his shot falling again is immense. ‘Important for me is to make sure my mechanics and form are right. Other than that there is nothing more I can do except just continue to put in the work and get my reps up. I will continue to shoot and work on my shot’, warned Quantez Robertson. It will be interesting how much longer Tez will play. He needs 2 more years and then will have played 15 seasons with one club Fraport Skyliners the same way Rickey Paulding did for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. After being so loyal for the Fraport Skyliners, when will Quantez Robertson receive the Tezfurt distinction? ‘Tezfurt would be nice. I think that it is up to the fans and organization to start that up. I think the fans need to start it up and then we will see how far it can go’, smiled Quantez Robertson. I think Tez doesn’t have anything to worry about. When all is said and done, he will get the needed Love from the Fraport Skyliners for his incredible career in Frankfurt. But for now his biggest focus is to help get the Fraport Skyliners back to their winning ways.