Bryce Taylor (195-SG-1986, agency: BeoBasket) is a former professional player that enjoyed a fruitful 13 year career playing in Italy as a rookie and the last 12 years in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn, Alba Berlin, Artland Dragons, FC Bayern Munich, Brose Bamberg and the Hamburg Towers. He began his career at Harvard Westlake high school before embarking on a 4 year career at Oregon (NCAA). Last season he got his first coaching experience in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers and now is an assistant coach with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his memories of Rickey Paulding.
Thanks Bryce for talking to germanhoops.com. When you hear the name Rickey Paulding what is the first thing that you think about?
Longevity, Excellence, Leadership, Competitor, Sportsmanship.
You came into the BBL in 2009 the year after Rickey Paulding won his only BBL title. What do you remember hearing about him that first season in Bonn?
I used to watch him play on TV in college, his team U of Missouri Tigers was really good so they were on national tv quite a lot and I remembered his game from that time. And then coming to Bonn, who had just lost in the BBL Finals to Oldenburg, I heard a lot about him and their team. He was still young at that time so he was an incredible athlete and slasher, but he could also shoot the ball from deep. He was a nightmare matchup.
Your last game against Rickey Paulding was in 2021 with the Hamburg Towers losing 89-88. What do you remember from that game? Despite his old age then he belonged to the best players on the court that day.
I remember going to Pedro Calles, our coach, the day before the game and telling him I wanted to match up with Paulding. He was going to have Kameron Taylor guard him, but I knew Rickey’s game very well after many years of battles. I think we defended him well as a team that game, but he always found ways to get it going even on his ‘off’ nights.
Did you have any closing words for him maybe telling him your time was about to end as a player or was it the typical good game see you next season bla bla?
We spoke about it before the game during warm ups, I was going back and forth with myself about leaving Germany and we discussed that possibility. Rickey Paulding retired with 40 years of age.
You played against a lot of great players in Germany that played a long time like Derrick Allen for example, but did you ever see a guy like Rickey Paulding that was able to play so well at a high level for his age?
I have never seen an athlete of Rickey’s caliber, perform at such a level for that long, without sustaining any major injuries. And I doubt we will ever again either. What he accomplished as a player is incredible.
Do you believe that you had a record above or below 500 against Rickey Paulding?
My guess would be about .500
You were 8-9 in your career? The first game that you played against Rickey Paulding was in the 2009-2010 season and you lost that first game badly. What do you remember from that game?
I don’t remember the exact game but I remember every time we played against one another, I had to bring my best focus and energy to that game.
What was your personal fondest memory against him as a player? I can imagine that thrilling 5 game playoff series that you won with FC Bayern Munich?
Yes, that series was awesome. We got up 2-0 and Rickey, Julius Jenkins, Dru Joyce, Adam Chubb fought back and ended up bringing them back into the series. They ran out of gas in Game 5 but it was a really competitive and fun series. What I appreciated about Rickey is that he would drop 30 points on you, and he would never say one word of trash talk. He would just keep the same facial expression and encourage his teammates with a positive demeanor. It made him impossible to dislike.
What kind of a legacy will Rickey Paulding leave in German basketball? Will we ever see another player like him be able to remain with 1 club for as long as he did?
Basically Rickey is like the Kobe Bryant (RIP) of the BBL, I don’t know that the league will ever see a player of his talent level and professionalism play in the BBL for that long again, let alone for the same club. Most players as good as him will leave the league after a couple of seasons, but he made Oldenburg his home and helped them build a top level basketball organization.
Please leave some closing words for Rickey Paulding?
I wish Rickey all the best on his next chapter of life and I am sure he will enjoy the new experiences with his family in America. I also thank him for what he did for our league, bringing continued growth and respectability to basketball in Germany. I think figures like him are very important for the development of our sport. I am confident I will be seeing him soon in Oldenburg this season.
Thanks Bryce for the chat.