Andreas Obst: Germany's Reggie Miller sinking USA and fulfilling Dirk's poster words

Donatas Urbonas
Senior Staff Writer
2023-09-10 03:06

Andreas Obst has a track record of Miller-esque performances, proving international basketball is not only about the superstars but also excellent role players who aren't supposed to be heroes but are always ready to fulfill their wildest childhood dreams.

Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Many knew Franz Wagner could hoop, and Daniel Theis was a tough big man. However, they weren't prepared for the unexpected Obst-acle that prevented Team USA from reaching the FIBA World Cup 2023 final.

Who is Andreas Obst, the player who played a pivotal role in defeating Team USA in the World Cup semifinal?

In 2014, when he moved from his hometown, Halle, to Bamberg at 18, Andreas Obst brought along a basketball poster featuring Dirk Nowitzki. On it were the words:

Player of the Game
Daniel  Theis
Daniel Theis
Points 21
Accuracy 10-15
Rebounds 7
Assists 2

"All dreams may sound crazy until they come true."

Nine years later, Andreas Obst made a dream come true that might have seemed wild back when he was shooting hoops on the neighborhood courts.

There's a famous image of Kawhi Leonard sinking a game-winning shot from the corner for the Toronto Raptors on their way to the NBA title. That shot, and the expressions on the faces of those witnessing it inspired dreams in many youngsters.

This had to be FIBA basketball's iconic picture material.

With just 1:15 left to play and Germany holding a one-point lead against Team USA in the World Cup semifinal, the situation seemed poised for a crucial inbound pass to Franz Wagner, who received a screen from Daniel Theis.

However, the real action unfolded on the other side of the court. Thanks to screens set by Isaac Bonga and Daniel Theis, Andreas Obst managed to slip away from Tyrese Haliburton and position himself perfectly to score.

He faked, causing Haliburton to jump in the wrong direction, nearly traveled with the ball, but managed to maintain his balance on his fingertips and released the shot.

It became an iconic moment as Tyrese Haliburton, lying on the floor, watched the ball go in, essentially sealing the outcome of a high-scoring game. The score stood at 111-107 with 1:15 remaining, marking the beginning of a history for German basketball.

Obst led the team with 24 points and six assists, shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the three-point line. He emerged as the crucial X factor in their victory against Team USA.

The MVP chants that had begun for Obst early into the second half were no longer taken lightly.

"I've been playing with him since I was 16, so I know what he can do. And they gotta build him a statue," FIBA quoted Johannes Thiemann.

Obst managed to steal the spotlight from the USA stars, a situation quite different from what he was accustomed to.

In his previous two EuroLeague seasons with Bayern Munich, he averaged 6.0 points in just 13 minutes of play.

While his role increased during the last season (9.9 PPG, 20 MPG), he had to work diligently to earn the respect and trust of his coach, Andrea Trinchieri, to secure those valuable minutes on the court.

But East Germans are renowned for their humbleness and honesty, and Obst, coming off Halle, was no exception.

Obst was solid, but he was never considered a five-star German prospect.

Before the jump to the EuroLeague, he moved from one German team to another (Brose Bamberg, Rockets Gotha, and ratiopharm Ulm, as well as the Spanish side Obradoiro) in pursuit of improvement and more playing opportunities, all in a bid to improve his chances of making it to a EuroLeague team.

While some initially doubted him, he gradually made the Trinchieri's rotation. This culminated in the 2021-22 EuroLeague season playoffs, where he played a pivotal role in creating another upset, helping to seal a victory against FC Barcelona in Game 2 with his impressive 15-point performance.

Obst has a track record of Miller-esque performances. One such standout moment was in the 2022 EuroBasket quarterfinal against Greece and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

In what can be considered one of the greatest EuroBasket games of all time, Obst contributed 19 points, sinking 5-of-7 three-pointers in a stunning 107-96 victory.

"For me, Andy is one of the best shooters in FIBA. He can do more than just shoot. He can drive, he can make a play. But the biggest thing with Andy is that he makes space for Franz Wagner and Dennis Schroder to play. Obviously, he had a huge game tonight. I think you've seen his evolution since the EuroBasket last year. He's more than a shooter, and he's becoming a good defender," Germany's head coach Gordon Herbert recalled.

People who have known Obst for a long time were surprised at seeing him so expressive and emotionally charged both on and off the court. He had previously been known as a relatively calm and reserved individual.

There's even a joke that Andrea Trinchieri shouted, "Stasi times are over!" when Obst remained too quiet on the court. For clarification, the Stasi, officially known as the Ministry for State Security, was one of the most hated and feared intelligence agencies in communist East Germany during the Cold War.

However, don't be misled by his demeanor. He's full of confidence and feels excellent about every shot he takes. He was born with this feeling.

His remarkable shooting skills began to catch people's attention during the last EuroBasket, and now in the World Cup, where his shooting played a crucial role in defeating Team USA.

But Obst has been shooting lights out long before that, starting from his days in Bamberg and Ulm.

"I actually have no words for this, to be part of that and what we achieved today. Tonight is just amazing for basketball, for German basketball. It was really tough, and it meant so much to the group. We fought every second, and now we are happy to be in the final," FIBA quoted Obst, who got the TCL Player of the Game award in the semifinal.

The FIBA World Cup 2023 shows national team basketball isn't just about the superstars. It's about having a roster with clear leaders and specialists who embrace their roles and give their all with passion and humility.

These players aren't expected to be heroes, but they put in the effort to be ready for the moment when they can fulfill even their wildest childhood dreams.


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