One of the youth basketball powerhouses in Germany – International Basketball Academy Munich – is teaming up with the sneaker and hoops wear giant KICKZ in a match made in heaven. Written by David Hein on Take The Charge.
International Basketball Academy Munich has been one of the leading youth development programs in Germany for years. Now the club is teaming up with one of the leading sneaker and basketball wear companies in KICKZ. Here is a look at what the deal means and how it can impact the youth scene in Munich, Germany and around the world.
One of the most exciting youth programs in Germany just became that much more fascinating as International Basketball Academy Munich – more commonly known as IBAM – has hooked up with shoe and apparel giants KICKZ to become KICKZ IBAM. The collaboration of the two Munich-based basketball powerhouses seems like a natural fit – and it could make the team even more intriguing around the world.
“We are very excited about teaming up with a hungry program such as IBAM. They epitomize the beauty of the game by way of individual advancement, team play and of course: winning seasons,” KICKZ said in a statement. “KICKZ is proud to be so closely associated with IBAM’s longstanding legacy as a basketball powerhouse in youth hoops. Especially considering coach Robby Scheinberg’s resumé when it comes to assembling and developing skilled young players of various backgrounds. This makes KICKZ IBAM a lively testimony to the positive values of basketball communities all around the world.”
Scheinberg, the architect and mastermind behind the IBAM project, said the move will help the club make the next step.
“The collaboration with KICKZ is a major step for IBAM towards our goal of becoming THE premier basketball youth development program in Europe,” the coach said. “We focus on the individual and how we can help the player become the best he can be. In order to do so, you need to work with the best – including the best equipment. KICKZ’s stellar selection of pro products is one thing – but they are also a great cultural fit for IBAM. Just like us, Team KICKZ is crazy about the game. And fully committed to winning. Their brand building expertise will be a huge support in our common quest for greatness.”
“The collaboration with KICKZ is a major step for IBAM towards our goal of becoming THE premier basketball youth development program in Europe.”KICKZ IBAM head coach Robby Scheinberg
KICKZ and K1X co-owner Niels Jäger elaborated on the deal, saying it made sense for a ton of reasons.
“The first being a quasi life-long basketball bond. Coach Robby Scheinberg and I played for that very team when we were teenagers back in the days, when the club’s under-19 division was still called MTSV Schwabing,” Jäger remembered. “Also, both IBAM and KICKZ hail from Munich, Germany. We are two basketball powerhouses in a city that is traditionally known for football aka soccer. IBAM is a great testimonial for KICKZ’s ongoing quest to shape and influence basketball culture where possible. We want to be known as ‘the home of basketball’ when it comes to retail. And the IBAM family gives our story-telling opportunities a most authentic edge.”
Jäger said the company will regularly incorporate IBAM into its communication, such as shoe-testing, staging of training gear and hardwood equipment.
“Our partnership with IBAM is one of the ways which we’d like to walk the walk – not just talk the talk – as Europe’s leading basketball authenticator,” Jäger continued. “As a basketball retailer, it’s our mission to promote the active game – as well as the game’s lifestyle We are currently planning a regular basketball workout, which will allow players from all over the world to train alongside the IBAM squad via social media.”
And of course KICKZ is also interested in helping IBAM develop more prospects – and win.
“Most importantly, we want to help in the formation of stellar hoop talent – and win championships along the way,” added Jäger.
KICKZ specializes in selling sneakers and basketball wear online. Its first shop opened in 1993 in the Munich Schwabing district and there are stores in Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart.
“Our partnership with IBAM is one of the ways which we’d like to walk the walk – not just talk the talk – as Europe’s leading basketball authenticator.”KICKZ and K1X co-founder Niels Jäger
When asked how KICKZ can help a basketball team on the court, Jäger responded: “That remains to be seen. We can only supply gear and support the team in building a strong identity, notoriety and brand. The rest is up to the coaches and players themselves. But early indications show that the players are very hyped about our partnership and attendance is up. This will attract more talent and go a long way in further etching out IBAM’s repuatation as one of Europe’s leading basketball academies.”
IBAM over the years has become a very attractive location for talent from Germany and around the world. IBAM’s two prized players they developed are Oscar da Silva, who is starring already just weeks into his arrival at ALBA Berlin; and Joshua Obiesie, who has played for the German senior national team and currently is playing with FC Bayern Munich.
IBAM has become a powerhouse in the youth level in Germany, especially in the U19 NBBL league. They reached the Final Four in 2016-17, when da Silva was crowned the season MVP of the league. IBAM knocked off ALBA Berlin in the semi-finals but then lost to city rivals Bayern in the final.
Bayern have been a real thorn in IBAM’s side over the years. Not only are they in the same city and fighting to bring in the same talent from Munich, but Bayern also have a massive advantage financially in attracting prospects from around Germany as well as abroad.
And there is a legitimate rivalry on the court as well between the two Munich powers. IBAM came up just one step short of returning to the NBBL Final Four in 2017-18 as they were knocked off by Bayern in the South Playoffs 2-0.
IBAM’s life isn’t any easier considering that Brose Bamberg are also in southern Germany – in the Bavarian state of Franconia. And IBAM lost to Bamberg’s youth team TSV Tröster Breitengüßbach at the same South Playoffs stage in 2018-19 to once again miss out on the Final Four. The MVP of the 2018-19 season once again was a star from IBAM – Joshua Obiesie.
A number of other solid German youngsters over the years have played in the IBAM organization, which also includes the Schwabing team in the fourth division Regionalliga as well as a good past of loaning players to ProB third division club TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen. Among the past IBAM players are Tristan da Silva, Bruno Vrcic, Isaiah Ihnen, Ralph Hounnou, Fynn Fischer, Henning Ballhausen, Jens Großmann, Bent Leuchten and Anthony Okao.
A major sign of a successful youth development program is players from outside the country coming in. And IBAM has attracted a number of non-Germans as well in the past. Serbian guard Aleksa Vucetic and British guard Liam Carpenter played for IBAM as have 2002-born Mohamed Barako of Somalia, Brazilian 2001-born Rafael Rodrigues as well as the 2003-born duo of Emilis Butkus of Lithuania and Bulgarian Ivan Borissov.
This season’s IBAM team is highlighted by Benjamin Schröder and Jonas März from the 2003-born generation. Schröder actually moved from Bayern to IBAM in 2020 after having helped Bayern win the U16 JBBL league crown in 2019, being named as finals MVP after he scored 36 points in the title game against Science City Jena.
Schröder and März both played for Germany at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019, where the team crashed to 14th place – losing to Latvia in the Classification Game 13-14 and being relegated to Division B. That despite having excellent talent such as Jacob Patrick, Michael Rataj, Tjark Lademacher, Jakob Hanzalek, Alexander Richardson, Luis Wulff, Kilian Brockhoff and Marc Tilly.
Also on the IBAM team this year is Dan Makuna, who was in the running to make Germany’s U18 team this past summer, being invited to the national team camp. There is also Marco Frank as well as a couple of international players – Mansour Jeng from Gambia and Noah Mirabent Martin of Spain.
The recent history of IBAM has been fascinating and now with the collaboration of a powerhouse like KICKZ, things will get that much more interesting in Munich’s basketball scene – not to mention in Germany and even around the globe if those in charge have their say.