If you’ve ever been involved with PPA Hoops as a player, coach or parent, you probably know Coach Freddy Obame: the hilarious, six-foot-seven, french-speaking PPA coach who played professional basketball overseas in seven different countries. Freddy is a determined competitor on the court, but off the court he’s as funny, friendly and likable as it gets. For our first-ever PPA Hoops Coach’s Blog, we sit down with Freddy and pick his brain to get to know the Gabon native on a more personal level.
So, what does Coach Freddy like to do when he’s not coaching for PPA? “I like to eat!” Freddy says enthusiastically. “Usually when I’m off from work, I like to go find a new restaurant, and go see a movie. I spend time with my wife, Marina, because basketball takes a lot of time, so when I’m on a break I like to spend time with her.”
Freddy and Marina have been together since college, when they met at University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. “Even when I was on my school team, we had a lot of travel, a lot of practice… I was basically on campus 50% of the time, and she understood it then, and she understands it now,” Freddy says. “That’s probably a big reason we’re together, because she gives me the space when I need it, and I give her her space when she needs it. She understands my job and my goals.”
Besides going out to eat and going to the movies, Freddy and Marina also enjoy going shopping—at the mall, and online—and for Freddy, that shopping usually involves buying sneakers. Lots, and lots, of sneakers. In fact, anyone who’s had the pleasure of having Freddy as a coach knows that he is also a bonafide sneakerhead, boasting over 100 pairs of kicks; indeed, Freddy owns so many pairs of shoes that he has a difficult time finding space in his house to store them all.
“If I count everything, I think I have more than 100 pairs of sneakers. Maybe I wear half of them… every month I get a new pair,” Freddy says. “Since I started working, and even since I was living overseas, I’ve been buying them. When I move house to house, I have to carry all of them with me. Sometimes if I don’t want to wear them, I might sell them to just have more space.”
We asked Freddy to list his Top 10 favorite sneakers that he owns right now. The question seemed to stump Freddy at first (“This is too hard!” he exclaimed). Eventually, Freddy rattled off his Top 10 list, which is as follows: Off-White UNC Jordan I, Jordan 8 PE Hachimura, Bred Jordan I, White/Black/Varsity Red Jordan II, Jordan XI Legend Blue, Jordan IV Bred, Jordan XIV Ferrari Red Suede, Jordan UNC III, Jordan XI Bred, Jordan XVIII 2018. Needless to say, you’d have a hard time competing with Freddy’s arsenal of Jordans.
On the court, though, Freddy is fired up for the spring season, in which he’s coaching two PPA Premier teams (3rd Green Boys and 8th Blue Boys), as well as several Development teams. Freddy spoke to us about the season outlook for his Premier squads.
“For Premier 3rd Green Boys, we have a pretty exciting season ahead. We’re playing in the Soaring Stars league, and we’ll also play in 2 tournaments. Everybody is excited and we’ve been working hard in practice, looking forward to it,” Freddy explains. “I’m always trying to motivate the young boys and I really feel the fire burning inside of them. These are young kids who want to go after it. It will be a pretty challenging season but I’m looking forward to it, and I know the players are, too.”
“With the 8th graders, we have a fairly new team, as we just added several new players. We are trying to mesh them all together and see who can work well with each other,” Freddy explains. “I’ll be experimenting early on in the season with rotations. The new additions are really going to help our team move forward, I believe. It’s gonna be my job as the coach to try to mesh everybody because the roster is pretty deep right now.”
The 8th Blue roster may be deep, but it’s not nearly as deep as Coach Freddy’s sneaker closet. With the spring season officially upon us, it’s time to lace up a fresh pair of Jordans and get to work!
Big thank you to Freddy Obame for this blog. To learn more about Coach Freddy, check out his bio:
Originally from Gabon, Africa
Played for Monroe College in New York before transferring to the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore
Played professionally in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Nigeria, Tunisia, France, and Turkey, and represented his national team of Gabon in the 2015 and 2016 Africa Cup of Nations