It came out as big news that Kyle Hines, the Vice President of EuroLeague Players’ Association, is going to play in the TBT in July. This sparked a conversation as to why he, along with several high-profile overseas hoopers, didn’t opt to play in EuroLeague.
To get more information from the man himself, TrendBasket interviewed with Kyle Hines.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
On playing in the TBT tournament
I’m not actually playing just because of the situation with the Euroleague and also because I haven’t had the opportunity to practice to play. I felt it wouldn’t be a great opportunity just for me to play myself. But I still wanted to build a team. I still wanted to put a team in to participate, because I believe in the TBT. I believe it’s a great opportunity for basketball players, especially elite overseas guys, to get the opportunity to showcase their abilities.
It’s also an opportunity for my foundation. If we win with this, it will benefit and help our foundation, help kind of complete some of the things we want to do. That’s kind of the main reason why I wanted to put a team in, even though I won’t be able to play. I still want to be able to support Team Hines and the TBT.
On his other teammates playing and whether they’re still on board on playing in the TBT
The only person that’s not going to be playing is Nick [Calathes], just because I think for similar reasons, and he’s going to a new situation. I’m not exactly sure where that is, but I heard he’s going to a new situation. So once he goes to that new situation, I think he wants to wait for things to finalize before he begins to play. But, Brandon Paul, he’s going to play. We have Ethan Happ, who is a former Euroleague player. We also signed Alec Peters, former Valpo, Phoenix Suns player. We have a good group of guys that can still compete, still be able to play. So, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to be a good team, to be competitive in this tournament.
Paranoia on playing. Do the EuroLeague guys have concerns?
Well, I know these guys specifically. They’ve been able to practice, they’ve been in the gym, so their situation is a little bit different. I know that because I guess in the Midwest, they’ve been able to kind of practice still. In my situation in New Jersey, none of the gyms are open. But they’ve been able to stay fit, stay ready, so they feel like it’s a great opportunity. I mean, all of us at the end of the day are basketball players. We’re hoopers, so we want to be able to play. We haven’t been able to play a game since March 6th.
So yeah again, they feel like this tournament could be a great opportunity to play and then for them, an opportunity get some good, a competitive run in, but also an organized run. It’s not like they’re going to go play pick up or anything like that. It’s an actual organized, professional run, so it’s an opportunity for them to also get ready for the season. That’s how we’re kind of looking at it. All and all, a team has to be there for, I think if you go from start to finish, fifteen days.
But the way they’re going to try to design it, we’re going to have access to a gym, access to a facility. So for most of us, for a lot of guys, it’s almost going to be like a fit summer, a mini-camp. The opportunity to practice, the opportunity to work on their skills, the opportunity to train, so that’s kind of advantages of being there.
Malcolm Delaney on Milano, Kyle Hines’ thoughts
Malcolm, he’s proven winner, he’s a proven player. He’s somebody that had success everywhere he’s been at for the most part. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to team up with him along with the rest of the players we have. I think we have the opportunity to have a really good team and a really good season ahead of us. Malcolm’s going to lead us. I’m hoping I can do whatever I can possibly do to help make it easier for him. I’ll hopefully help him get as many open shots, get as many opportunities as possible. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play with him.
Kyle Hines’ opinions on Kyrie’s call with the Bubble City in Orlando
Kyrie Irving is a highly intelligent, highly respectable person, not only in the NBA but just in basketball in general. So if there’s a reason why he doesn’t want to play or he feels like he wants to talk about the reason why he shouldn’t or the NBA shouldn’t play, then I think you have no choice but to respect it. I think it’s something that has to be listened upon and I think that’s why there was 80 or however many players they said that were on last night because he’s somebody that many players and many guys respect, so if there was 80 guys or 80 players that were on the line, then obviously a lot of those guys probably feel the same way and each wanted to understand from his [Kyrie’s] point of view.
Obviously, we all hope that basketball continues. But I think right now for many of the players, it’s bigger than just basketball. It’s just a sport. Many players are looking at it as far as a long-term situation with their careers, but also many players are looking at it from the social aspect of it with all that’s going on with the protests and everything that’s going on right now in our country. I think some of the guys are looking at it as a possibility to take a stand, use their platform, and use that vehicle, to do that.
Like I said before, Kyrie’s a highly intelligent person and somebody that many players respect. So I feel like if he had a reasoning behind it then we have no choice but to respond.