/Interview with Paul Zipser

Interview with Paul Zipser

BTM: “Let´s talk about your time with the Chicago Bulls. Me being an old school fan, obviously my Chicago Bulls players are from a different generation – Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Jordan obviously. What were your first days as a Chicago Bull like?”

Paul Zipser: “Very exciting! You just know it from movies and old films of Jordan, so I was very honored of course. And the new practice facility was super modern and still is of course. It´s so many different things coming at you at once – a new country, new people, a new culture. I´ve never been to the US before – the whole package. The first week was just crazy. I came to the team pretty late because of the European Championship. I think I was the last one to join the team. The second or third day I was in the US we started with the training camp, like right after the tournament. So, I was super stressed out of course and my body just felt torn apart after a few days.”

BTM: “I can imagine. What was it like putting on a Chicago Bulls uniform for the first time?”

Paul Zipser: “It was kind of weird to be honest. Like I said, you see those colors. You know the intro we always had and everyone knows it´s the original Chicago Bulls intro. And at the first game Dwyane Wade had a home coming so the whole city was super excited.”

BTM: “Are there any legends running around, guys like Scottie for example, visiting every once on a while talking to the players?”

Paul Zipser: “Yeah, Scottie was there a lot. Toni Kukoč was there a lot. I talked with them a lot especially in my first year about things I should bring to the team and stuff. So, I think I learned a lot about how to have a bigger impact on the game.”

BTM: “Well with Toni Kukoč and Scottie Pippen you´ve got the right people to talk to.

Since I´m from a different generation – back in the days like the 1990s it was very, very common for NBA fans to collect NBA trading cards. I´m not sure if your generation is like that as well. But what is it like knowing that there´s a trading card of you now?”

Paul Zipser: “I think it was crazier when I saw myself in a video game for the first time. Usually, in a 2K cooperation when I saw myself there that was super weird. But then when I was in the NBA I had two years of that, so I knew all of that is going to happen. Actually, I have one of my own autographs from my rookie year in a 2016 here. But I really like Pokémon ´cause I´m from a generation where just everyone played Pokémon. I mean a lot of generations actually, like the younger generations now as well. So I collect a little bit of those. And then I saw myself because I just looked up on eBay how much my cards are going for. And one was up for sale and I just bought it.” *laughs*

BTM: “Nice, man! You just mentioned that it was weird seeing yourself in a video game for the first time. So, do you play with your character?”

Paul Zipser: “I never really play 2K. FIFA a little bit. I was never big on video games. Now the last 2 to 3 years I played a little more Fortnite and all of that stuff. I´m horrible at 2K, that’s why I don´t really enjoy the game as much. But I play with my character a little bit.”

BTM: “I´ve never been to Chicago. It´s on my bucket list, but I´ve never been there. One thing I really want to see is the Michael Jordan statue. Have you seen it?”

Paul Zipser: “Yeah, sure. I think during my first year here they worked on it because they built a whole building around it for the office. So the first year I had to wait and then I saw it many times during my second year. I watched hockey a little bit, went to concerts. Every time I stood in front of it, I just thought how crazy it is.”

BTM: “Naturally Dirk Nowitzki influenced you a lot since you are German and Dirk Nowitzki was huge in Germany. What is Dirk like off the court? I mean, we all know that he´s goofing around on videos and he always seems to be the super nice guy. Can you confirm that he is just as nice in person as he is on camera?”

Paul Zipser: “Yeah, yeah! Off camera I really was surprised how normal and natural and funny he is. If you saw clips that´s how he is. He treats everybody… not just basketball players, but if you´re walking around in the city he´s never not nice to a guy. I never saw that happen. I think everybody who talks about him like that just says the truth.”

BTM: “Nice, man. So, Dirk obviously isn’t playing anymore but Luka Dončić you mentioned once that he now is your guy in the NBA. What do you think makes Luka so special?”

Paul Zipser: “First of all, I was kind of surprised how fast he grew into that role. I knew he was going to be a super star in a few years but not in his first or second year. We´re talking about him maybe being the MVP of the whole league, you know? People are starting to talk about that. Just his vision – how he sees the game. I think he learned in very good clubs. How they teach basketball I think is very important to him. And with his skill set, with his body – he´s tall – he sees the whole floor, he can shoot, he can do everything like everybody can see now. And he just enjoys the game and how loosly he plays, with how much confidence and fun. It´s just the perfect mixture for a basketball player.”

BTM: “From one generation to the other – from Luka Dončić to Vince Carter. With Vince Carter it looks like his career is over now. Did you ever get the chance to play against Vince?”

Paul Zipser: “Yeah, of course a few times. I remember one game in Chicago actually, when we were guarding each other pretty much the whole game. I don’t know. Our rotation always was like that. And I don’t remember the exact words, but he started talking to me a little bit during the game. That’s one guy I always looked up to as an athlete, as a player of course – how crazy his dunks are and how good of a player he is or was now. It´s very unlikely with Corona how his career ended *snaps* just like that. I never saw a player enjoying the game more than him. Like, he just walks around on the court and starts with his warm up two hours, two and a half hours. He starts dunking and smiling and laughing. He just enjoyed his basketball career so much.”

BTM: “It´s incredible that he played up to this age – he played in four different decades. It´s unbelievable. And I really like players that play up to their 40s because that really shows how much you love the game. It´s very unfortunate that his career has to end this way. His legacy is incredible.

Obviously, the situation at the moment is not easy for anyone. I don’t know if everyone knows but in Germany, we´re supposed to stay at home. You, Paul, had to stay home for 10 days as well which is crazy. Do you have a message for the people?”

Paul Zipser: “I mean in the last days or weeks it doesn’t matter where in the world you are – it doesn’t really matter which city which country – you should always try to support the rules first of all. That’s what I did. That’s the most important – what the government, what the doctors or scientists say. Always try to do that. It doesn’t matter how bad it is for your day, for your work. I stayed at home for a long time now. I started a little bit because our circumstances with the gym allow that. So, I can go to the gym and train by myself with nobody around – I can go in and out whenever I want. And the second thing: If you´re at home and respect the rules, a lot of times everyone is kind of bored. You can use that time and do something with purpose and help those people who can`t do things now, who can´t go to the super markets. Either they´re older or they´re sick. Just try to take some responsibility (I hate that word) and help those people and still be active.”