Interview with Joakim Linden: “Without Lutz nothing of this would be possible.” | He is a former Swedish national player and “powerhouse” of the RSB Thuringia Bulls. Joakim Linden quit his player career (for now). The 29-year old Swede told us on an interview why he stopped playing and if there is possiblity that he returns to the sport.
Joakim, you stopped playing for the Thuringia Bulls last season. What have you been doing since you’ve left? Are you still playing wheelchair basketball?
“Right now I´m studying at the occupational therapy programme, it´s a 3 years long study. I don´t have so much time because of all the studying so I don´t practice any basketball at the moment.”
What has been the crucial factor for you leaving the RBBL?
“First of all, I wanted to do something else and get an education and think about my future. The other thing was that I wanted to be closer to my family and girlfriend and I prioritize them over basketball.”
Are you still available for the Swedish national team? How do you think the team will be moving on after being relegated to the Division B?
“No, my last tournament was last year in Tenerife. I have no idea which of the players are still on the team, but I think it´s mostly young players who can get good experience from Division B and get better.”
Do you still follow up on the RBBL? How do you rate the development on the league since you have left?
“Yes, I watch some livestreams and I follow RSB Thuringia Bulls. And this year I feel that the league is more competitive with more good teams and new players.”
Is a return to the RBBL supposable for you? What needs to happen, that you start rolling again on German courts?
“Not right now, maybe after my education sometime in the future, if I´m still in a good shape and everything feels good.”
The Bulls lost only one game this season and have been matured to a European Top-Team. You have been part of the process. What do you think is the contribution of Lutz Lessmann on this success?
“He´s the boss of the team and makes everything happen. He found good players this season who perfectly fit into the team and that´s why they are one of the top teams in Europe. Without Lutz nothing of this would be possible. He´s also one of the kindest persons I have met and I´m very happy that I know him.”
How would you describe the atmosphere in Elxleben? Lutz and all other are constantly talking about a big family.
“It´s true, the atmosphere is great and it feels like a family. The management is great and the teammates are the best people I have played with. Everyone takes care of each other.”
Last but not least: What are your plans for the near future?
“Take one day at a time and finish my education. Then we will see what happens.”
Thank you very much for your time, Joakim!
Interview: Annika Aul