Last Saturday, Berlin was not only Germany’s basketball capital but had its very own Uncle D(rew) moment. None other than Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schröder showed up for the ING-DiBa #SHUTUPANDPLAY 3-on-3 tournament. Like Kyrie Irving in his famous commercials, DS17 faced his ProAm opponents in disguise – at least in the beginning. He appeared with a big ‘fro wig, a headband and goggles and played some 1-on-1s against kids to warm up. More and more people gathered around the court as the rumor started to spread and, of course, most of the basketball players and fans recognized the German international even with his funny-looking costume on. But Dennis didn’t just come to fool around – he meant business. So he joined Team Avenue and entered the official 3-on-3 tournament. Playing alongside BBL pro Oliver Clay of Science City Jena and former Alba Berlin player Sebastian Fülle the team swooped through the competition.
By winning the #SHUTUPANDPLAY tournament Dennis’ team qualified for the German Basketball Federation’s 3×3 championship the next day. Though the competition was tougher than the day before they had hardly any trouble winning the trophy. When things became too close Schröder simply turned it up a notch. His speed was unmatched and he could always rely on Clay’s big man skills and Fülle’s great hustle and sharpshooting swagger. The great irony here is that the champions received tickets to a game of the German national team. Get it? Dennis Schröder just announced that he won’t be available to play for the national team in the upcoming Euro Qualifiers. He wants to concentrate on preparing for his new role as a starter for the Hawks. That’s understandable. But then he shows up for a streetball tournament, hustles after every ball, slides across the hardwood and tarmac more than once, dunks on people and crosses them over like it’s the NBA Finals. And in the end he wins tickets to see his teammates who could really need his help. Isn’t that ironic? Don’t you think?
Another fun thing about this kind of tournament where amateurs meet pros is that the nobodies get the unique chance to go up 1-on-1 versus one of the top players in the game – and might even be able to embarrass him once or twice. Bojan who works at our KICKZ Berlin Basketball store was one of these lucky ones. Though his team lost against Schröder’s squad he managed to get a steal and a block against next season’s starting point guard of the Atlanta Hawks. Not bad at all. 42-year old Daniel had a similar experience. After playing and coaching basketball for 30 years a dream came true for him when he faced the NBA star. Though his squad had no chance to compete with Team Avenue he still seized the moment, shooting 3s right in Schröder’s and Clay’s face and even showing some Harlem Globetrotters-like moves. He showed heart and skill and became a crowd favorite. What stood out in the end is that everybody showed lots of love for the game. A perfect basketball weekend.