For those who know their MM history, or know much about basketball in general in the UK, the name Germayne Forbes rings bells of recognition all across the nation. One of the best guards to ever come out of West London and arguably the smoothest player to be able to ‘freak it’ both ways (organised ball and on summer asphalt), ‘Forbes 500’ is unquestionably a legend in his own time.
Check the resumé:
- Dropped 73 points in a single National League U18 game
- Won MVP honours at the legendary ‘Rough & Ready’ tournament
- Multi-year Midnight Madness winner
- First player British guard in history to go from playing English National League to playing in the NCAA Division 1 Sweet 16 without playing in US high school, prep school or Junior College
- 2-time All-Conference First Team NCAA D2
- England and GB International
- Top scorer on the England Men’s national team in leading them to a Commonwealth Games Bronze Medal (Australia)
- 10 year European pro (France, Switzerland)
For those who have seen him in full flow, Forbes is the ball players favourite player. The one guy you like to play with as he can get you out of a hole in a hurry, and the one guy you worry about going up against because you know at any given time you could be on the end of a vicious crossover and straight up jumper in the grill (ask around, the body count is real). However his popularity amongst the players fraternity is more than just appreciation for his game, Forbes has an almost spiritual aura that surrounds him that is reminiscent of a buddhist monk or some say, a Jedi Knight, derived from a life dedicated to mastering the ‘art’ of basketball. Fabled stories spread of him practising through the night at his beloved Westway outdoor courts in West London during the summers, where he would often shoot in the dark to ‘get a better sensory feel for the game, the basket, the ball and the rhythm that brings it all together’. In the eyes of many, Germayne Forbes is the ‘Truth’. We recently caught up with Forbes 500, just as his new season had gotten underway, to break bread, catch up and separate the truth from they hype…
Q: Fill us in on where you’re playing this year and in what league?
I’m playing in France at the N1 level, after last year earning promotion from N2.
Q: How is your season going so far?
As of today we are 1-6 we have been growing and getting better from game to game, week to week and we are competing against every team. All of our games have been close and as a team we are learning the value of playing for a complete 40 minutes collectively, so I expect this to get better as long as we continue to grow together as a team.
Q: You’ve been away from the mainstream spotlight as far as British basketball goes, what’s been going on over the past few seasons with you?
Over the past few years I have been in other European locations playing at different levels and also recovering from injuries. I have managed to overcome the injuries and now I am as close to 100% as I have been in recent years.
Q: We know you overcame a serious illness a couple of years back, can you fill us in on what was wrong?
The injuries I suffered recently were Pericarditis, which is the inflammation of the protective sac around the heart, which doctors said could be potentially life threatening. To add to that I fractured my foot and had to let that heal before returning to the game.
Q: Pericarditis is a serious condition – especially for a professional athlete, how did you overcome it?
The pericarditis was healed through prayer, faith and a few additions to my diet which my father, who is an ex-boxer, suggested. The fracture was healed through prayer again and of course rest!
Q: You’re a legend in the eyes of many because of your fluid game and infamous work ethic and practise habits – where do you get your motivation from?
Back when I first started playing I was involved in many sports as a child, but once I found basketball it just felt like a match made in heaven, because it had the street elements and the poetic elements which somehow fit my personality perfectly. There isn’t anything in the world that combines the mental, physical, spiritual, artistic and poetic elements of life along with a street reality in the way basketball does. I grew up in Ladbroke Grove, so the street was already there. My motivation to work so hard at it, came from my love of playing the game. Once I found basketball, or should I say, it found me, that was it.
Q: There are so many stories about your practise regime when you were coming up, how many hours did you really practise per day?
Growing up I practiced almost every waking hour in some way. In the morning I would dribble to the court and practice alone for a few hours before school. On my way to school I would work on my handles. During class I would try and find opportunities to shoot something at or in some target. I would constantly however, be imagining and physically mimicking the many moves I had rolling around my mind. Of course during breaks I was always ballin’, and after school I was either back at the court or practicing with a particular team or coach. I would say realistically, I probably practiced 7-10 hours a day, everyday, but not necessarily always on a proper court.
Q: Did you record/count your reps when you practised? If so, how many were you shooting on a regular basis to become such a good shooter?
At first I would not count reps, makes or misses. After being recruited by Gonzaga University the gave me a workout plan, which required a certain amount of makes from a certain number of shots, that’s when I started counting. Prior to Gonzaga I just used to shoot until it felt right, so no, I don’t know how many I shot coming up, but it was a lot. Nowadays , I MAKE around 300 shots during my solo daily workout sessions, but that’s also mixed in with other elements of my game I’m always looking to refine. At Gonzaga we were blessed to have the machine that rebounds for you, that machine was one of my closest friends! I could easily shoot 500 shots in less than an hour so I took full advantage of that, which helped my shot a lot.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the Germayne Forbes Interview, where we go cover the best players he’s ever played against, his thoughts on the future of the British game and his advice to the ‘next’ Germayne Forbes…