German Bavarian town Bayreuth is known for it´s famous Festspiele which goes about a month from late July until late August and something the city gears up for early on as well as music lovers from all around the world get excited about already in May, but this season the basketball fanatics from the 72,000 populated city actually have something very special to get all psyched about and that’s playoff basketball. The basketball is very popular in that area so why not adopt the March Madness theme from the States and name it May madness in Bayreuth. The last time that the club was in the BBL playoffs, American president Bill Clinton was having a secret relationship with Monica Lewinsky that the world would first get wind of when the team was back in the second Bundesliga, Kevin Garnett played a solid rookie season with the Minnesota Timberwolves and wasn´t a household name yet and young medi Bayreuth German Moritz Trieb wasn´t even born yet. The year was 1996 when fans experienced playoff basketball the last time there and now they are back and hungry to make serious history again. This is the biggest basketball news story in Bayreuth since the rumored arrival of NBA superstar Kevin Durant in November 2011 that never happened.
For the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, it has been an underachieving season so far with the biggest news story of the season being the recent contract extension of Oldenburg son and legend Ricky Paulding. The well known speech from John F Kennedy in Berlin where he uttered the famous and unforgettable words “ich bin ein Berliner” may be more than 53 years old, but that remains something that every kid learns about in the history books from Englewood, New Jersey to Brisbane, Australia and Rickey Paulding recently let “Ich bin ein Oldenburger” slip his tongue and got standing ovations for minutes in the EWE arena in Oldenburg after the contract extension was announced. Paulding’s 4 words won’t ever get the world wide press or rememberance as Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner”, but in Oldenburg Paulding will always be their Kennedy. The reason for the long standing ovations and fuss about Paulding was on account of the announcement that he will remain in Oldenburg until 2019 which would give him 12 years in the BBL with one team which is as seldom seen in the BBL as it is teammate Brian Qvale attempting more than one trey a game which he did against the Telekom Baskets Bonn this season and hit both and brings his total of three point attempts in 6 professional seasons to only 14. It is just not a given in todays age of where money rules and the game is a business that a player will remain with one team for that long a period. At the end of this contract extension he will have eclipsed the longevity of Fraport Skyliner legend Pascal Roller who was 11 years with Frankfurt. With the EWE Baskets Oldenburg he has won two titles including the 2009 BBL league title and 2015 cup. He has been a 6 time BBL allstar and is in the top 5 all-time in scoring in the BBL. His middle name could be prolonged to Rickey Mr Oldenburg and consistency Paulding as he gives that name a special new meaning as he has averaged double digit scoring every season in the BBL and is having his best scoring season averaging 16,0ppg showing that he isn’t slowing down with age as he is 34 years old.