By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
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Uwe Blab joined The Handle Podcast to tell the story of him being noticed in a pub in Germany, remember how he improved under coach Bob Knight at Indiana and share memories from his stops with the Mavericks, Don Nelson‘s Run-TMC Warriors and the Germany national team.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
01:05 – Playing soccer when growing up, turning to basketball only later on thanks to his sister, being noticed in a pub after a game — in which Uwe didn’t even play in — against an American team;
06:55 – Uwe’s talent not being the best initially, yet getting better at basketball as time went on, solid play at Effingham High School in Illinois plus his size being interesting to colleges, verbally committing to the relatively unknown Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke team;
11:50 – Coach Bob Knight taking his time with the younger players, a story of Knight getting on the older Randy Wittman for a play where Uwe dropped the pass, how he wouldn’t have made it without coach Knight, him being so hard at times that quitting would seemingly be the only option;
17:05 – The win in the Regional Semifinal against North Carolina and Michael Jordan, Uwe scoring 16, blocking Jordan’s shot and having more points than him, the press and Steve Alford being the main reasons for the victory, playing against Kentucky’s twin towers of Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin;
21:15 – Being drafted 17th by the Dallas Mavericks, losing his eligibility to play for the Germany national team, how difficult it is to play basketball year-round, him and Detlef Schrempf being drafted as European players and the big deal that was;
27:20 – Having to adjust to a smaller role at Dallas, being a player who the Spurs acquired so David Robinson would have a match-up in practices;
31:55 – Nelson choosing Uwe for the starting center spot at Golden State, Nellie’s advice that he has to try and outrun the opposite center, a successful game against the Houston Rockets and Hakeem Olajuwon, the fun of playing with Run-TMC;
35:45 – The Uwe Blab – Chris Welp trade, Nelson wishing to have more basketball knowledge on the court, Uwe committing to Europe once his prospects in the NBA started to seem uncertain [Dwayne Schintzius is the center the Spurs drafted];
40:25 – The Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics and the pros being able to participate in them, Germany — not a top team — qualifying for them by beating Croatia, the media circus around the games, Uwe not playing in Eurobasket 1993 — hosted and won by Germany — due to being burnt out on basketball, his retirement;
47:45 – His time at Indiana as the basketball stint where he had the most fun, what a difference there was between growing up in Germany as a tall kid and then going to high school in the more positive American environment;
52:00 – Mentoring Sarunas Marciulionis at Golden State, hanging out with him and helping him with the culture and language, Manute Bol not needing an alarm clock;
56:30 – How Uwe could have never predicted that assistant coach Gregg Popovich would become what he is today, how good Popovich was at human interaction;
58:45 – Starting to work for Texas Instruments while still playing for the Dallas Mavericks, his degree and interest in computer science, now working in Austin at a software development company.
The media related to the podcast:
Notable snippets of the interview:
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Thanks to Uwe for coming on the podcast and telling stories from one of a kind career!
Uwe’s fame is in the book on his wife’s family–the Wilsons. I wrote the book.
I’d love to know where they are now, so please, Uwe, ask Linda to call Ann–same place, same number, but hurt from a fall, and need to hear good news.
Ann in El Centro–7 weeks after the hospital from a fall.