Josh Ward-Hibbert(London Lions) Had A Practice Session With Rafael Nadal And Was Clocked With A 133 Mile An Hour Serve But Later Chose Basketball

Joshua Ward-Hibbert (196-G-1994) is a 28 year old 196cm forward that was born in Mansfield, England and is playing his third season for Eurocup team London Lions. He was a massive Bristih tennis talent growing up, but switched to basketball in 2016. He began his basketball career with the Derby Trailblazers (EBL). He then played 3 years with the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders (BBL). He spoke to before a Eurocup game against the Hamburg Towers in Hamburg.

Thanks Josh for talking to Your playing a Eurocup game in Hamburg Germany. What do you know about the country Germany and it’s basketball?

I’ve been Germany before and had good experiences there, and on the basketball side they have strong league and great players come out of Germany.

Sometimes I’m just amazed. If I hadn’t checked Wikipedia I would never have known that you were a professional tennis player just from looking at your eurobasket profile. At a young age you were playing tennis and basketball. What was the most difficult challenge juggling these 2 sports?

The only challenged juggling the two sports was time. Balancing my time between the two and school

You were a very good junior player winning the Australian doubles junior tournament. Were you better suited to be a doubles player than a singles player?

I think especially when your young you just play both singles and doubles, most people focus on singles first but i enjoyed both but wanted to pursue singles.

You were clocked with having the fastest serve at Wimbeldon at 133 miles per hour. Who were your favorite serving players at Wimbeldon when you were growing up?

I liked watching people play not just there serves but players like Roddick and Federer and Tsonga and Monfils was great to watch

Do you have any cool story that you had with a well known professional tennis player early in your career that you will never forget? Like meeting a Boris Becker or John McEnrow at Wimbeldon who were always around commentating matches?

No crazy stories really, had a practice session with Rafael Nadal and that stuck with me because of his focus during the session. He showed me how to do it if you want to be great

In 2016 you made the switch from tennis to basketball. What was the deciding moment where you knew basketball would be your future?

There was a lot of reasons but basketball kind of fell into place, the decision wasn’t necessarily to switch to basketball. It just kind of happened

You have carved out a wonderful basketball career having won 6 titles already as a pro. Do you ever wonder where you might be today had you stuck with tennis?

Not so much really, I try and make the choices best I can at the time and just live with whatever comes from it

Let’s talk a little about your game. Your a196cm guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

I would like to compare it to Jimmy Butler.

You can score and rebound the ball well. What other assets does your game have?

I feel like I got many attributes to my game and can help my team succeed in whichever way is needed whether rebounding or scoring, or defense and energy

How important has your tennis skills been in helping your basketball game. I can imagine the lateral movement, agility and foot work is something that has helped your defensive game?

I definitely think tennis helped me in basketball, as you said with my movement and coordination. I think it allowed me to be the player I am today

On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to improve your game?

Really I’m trying to work on everything and get better at all aspects of my game

Your playing your third season with the London Lions. What kind of an experience has it been playing for this organization?

Yes it has been my third season and it’s been great, I’ve personally had some ups and downs but being around the club and the team it’s been amazing, I’ve learnt a lot and developed here a lot too.

What have you appreciated most about it? The expectations must be very high.

I always expect a lot of myself regardless. So no one can expect more of me then I expect of myself.

Do you feel pressure having to win titles? How tough is it for you having a smaller role than other players?

I don’t think about that too much, something I can’t control, everyday day and every game I just want to impact winning as much as I can, and do anything which will give the team a better chance of winning

In your first season you played with one of my favorite guys that I covered in Germany Orlando Parker. What memories do you have form his time there?

Orlando Parker, great player and great guy. Was great to share the floor with him, a real talented scorer.

You have played with many ex NBA players like Deandre Liggins and now Kostas Koufos and Sam Merrill. Talk a little about how each guy has enriched your time there?

There been some great players, role models and veterans I’ve played with here including the ex nba players. I’ve learnt a lot from each of them and there still teaching me things today. I just wanna keep learning and keep building the best I can from them.

Some guys move around from season to season while others remain with a team forever. Are you at an age where you could imagine finishing your career with the London Lions?

Who knows what the future holds, that’s something for future Josh to worry about. For now I got nearly a whole season to focus on

You were a U-16 British national basketball player. How is the state of British basketball at the moment? Where do you see it going in the future?

British basketball is definitely on the rise, you can see it and feel it, It’s moving it the right direction and it’s exciting to see whether it will be in years to come

The UK have brought on many talented players over the years but one that I covered early in his career in Germany was Myles Hesson. He is a guy that moved from lower leagues to top leagues. Is he a role model for you?

Myles is a great player and great role model for many young British players, and watching him and training with him has helped me with my game more then he probably knows

Who was the toughest player that you encountered your career on the court that would reach the NBA?

couldn’t say who’s the toughest player I’ve played against, I’ve faced so many great pI layers and wouldn’t want to leave anyone out

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

My 5 best team mates, I gotta extend that to 12 and say every player currently on the London Lions team. We had a great squad and we working towards something special

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads.

Mount Rushmore is Kobe, MJ, Lebron, and Wilt

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

My never ending debate ends with kobe – he was my role model when I was playing tennis and he will forever be the greatest ever in my eyes

Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?

I haven’t watched coming to America haha so I can’t say.

Thanks Josh for the chat.


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