John Bowler is a 28 year old 206cm center from Chicago that has announced his retirement. He played at Eastern Michigan from 2002-2006. His best season was his senior year where he played 28 games averaging 20.1ppg, 10.8rpg, 2.5apg, FG: 54.9%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 72.3%. He came to The Telekom Baskets Bonn in 2006 where he played until 2010. His best season was 2007-2008 where he played 39 games averaging 12.1ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 70.5%. He reached two BBL finals and one BBL Cup final. He played for EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) from 2010-2012 playing 18 games: 11.1ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT-3(50.0%), FT: 79.2%. He was voted most liekable player in the Beko BBL in 2008. He spoke to German Hoops about his basketball career.
John you have retired from professional basketball. How tough was it making this decision?
It was extremely tough and the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my entire life. I love basketball and I will be involved in basketball for the rest of my life but I had to make the decision that was best for my family and I.
You only played six professional seasons. In mind you must feel too young to be retiring or not?
I prefer to look at the positives and not on things I haven’t had. Yes I would have loved to have played more but I had a great career. I was given a great opportunity to play professional basketball and I played 6 phenomenal seasons at some of the highest levels of basketball with the best teammates, coaches, and fans. Some don’t even get the chance to play. So I feel that I am blessed and had an awesome career.
It was stated that you retired because of family reasons. You had an injury last season with EnBW Ludwigsburg. Could you still have played physically?
Yes. 100%. I was ready to play and had a great rehab.
You played six seasons in Germany. Obviously you enjoyed your time in Germany, but did you ever think about playing in another country?
Yeah we considered changing countries a couple of times. In the end, The BBL is very professional. Plus I felt that the BBL has some of the best competition in the world. It seemed like any team could win on any night. I loved all the things that the league had to offer.
Your most success as a professional came with the Telekom Baskets Bonn reaching the finals in 2008 and 2009. How many solutions have you come up in the last three years about how Bonn could have won game five against Oldenburg?
One of my biggest regrets is that I couldn’t help bring a championship to Bonn. Time has helped heal the wounds of the finals loses. In 2008, we had some injury problems and we ran out of steam. In 2009, We came within a few possessions of winning. It was a great series and both teams fought so hard. I could talk about a thousand things we could have done in any of those games but it’s in the past. Of course I wish we could have won the championship but I am still proud of everything we accomplished.
You played with some very talented guys in Bonn. If you had to choose one teammate who would you choose as your best teammate in those four years?
I had a lot of great teammates and friends while playing in Bonn and they all brought a lot to the table. Jason Gardner taught me a ton about competing and leading. His game was really smooth. It always looked easy and he was a great floor leader. But the guy that I loved playing with the most was Ronnie Burrell. Even though our games are very different we really clicked. From the beginning, It felt like we were always on the same page.
What is the most important thing that you could learn from head coach Michael Koch?
First off I would love to thank him for the opportunity to play professionally. He helped me achieve some great things and believed in my abilities. I really appreciate that. The thing he does best is his approach of staying in the moment. One game at a time. The next game is always the most important one. He also did an awesome job of getting us to respond after a loss. The game is over and we can’t change it now. Let’s focus on the next task as hand. Also he kept us fresh. We were at our best on game day.
Many would like to see him as the new German national coach. Could you see him taking over the reigns?
I have been saying that for years. I think he is the most logical and best option.
I always enjoyed watching you play, because you had those classy old school moves. Did you and Chris Ensminger teach each other some new moves that you hadn´t had?
We had some great battles in the year we played together in Bonn. He obviously has tons of experience and was willing to share it. He taught me a lot as a player. What a lot of people don’t know is that Chris isn’t as intense off the court as he is when he plays. He is a person that you hate when he is on another team and you love when he is on your team. Just ask the Bonn fans. They know what I’m talking about.
How did Bernd Kruel get you to laugh?
He always had me laughing. We roomed together in Bonn on road trips and he always would have me laughing about everything. He is a great guy and teammate.
The last two seasons weren´t the most easy ones in Ludwigsburg. Could you take anything positive out of those two years?
We had some major ups and downs. The first was a step in the right direction but we just barely missed the playoffs. In the second year, we just couldn’t finish close games. Then we started to have some injury problems, and it just seemed like things unraveled. I always feel like we could take positives from every situation. The biggest positive from those seasons is that we never gave up. We fought till the very last game both years and it showed.
Who was the most difficult player that you had to battle with in the Beko BBL?
Adam Chubb and Darren Fenn. I loved playing against those guys because they were both great players. Chubb because of his ability is finish around the rim and his athletic abilities. Darren because of his ability to score in a variety of ways. Also it seemed like we always kept playing against each other in the playoffs.
How would you like to have basketball fans remember the player John Bowler?
I wish everyone would remember me as a person who gave it all and left his heart on the floor. A player who never gave up and played with passion while doing everything I could to win. I feel like I played like that every night and I hope fans appreciate how hard I played.
Are the Chicago Cubs ever going to win a World Series in our lifetime? Sorry John about that question.
Someday we will win. Every year is our year. When we do win it, I will make sure you hear from me Miles.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The Dark Knight Rises
Thanks for the chat John. All the best for you!!