Erik Hood . . .
Erik's team in Germany.
Erik Hood first made a
splash on the city basketball scene in the winter of 1994-95,
as a sophomore, when he made significant contributions for a Simon Gratz team that
advanced to the Public League final. Later, he played briefly at Overbrook, but was
sidetracked by personal issues and later bounced around on the junior-college circuit.
Now, in the fall of 2006, he is playing professionally in Germany (and one of his
teammates is former Lamberton star Brandon "Pooh" Gary; No. 8 in pic at right.)
Erik sent an e-mail to update us on his situation and later agreed to "talk" about his
ups and downs, with the hope some young players might learn. In recent years, Erik
has been very supportive of Philly's younger players.
We thank Erik for this contributions and wish him all the best!
(This was prepared over several days and wasn't written "as a story," so please
excuse if it's a little disjointed. Not Erik's fault -- smile.)
Erik may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are Erik's e-mails . . .
This is Erik Hood e-mailing you a few lines to let you know that I'm still at it. I feel very blessed to be here in Germany right now playing in a very tough league. And people thought that I would never be playing abroad, let alone to this day! Well, like they say, good things happen to good people! A lot of Philly people judge me from 10 years ago when I was in high school, but I was a kid and everyone makes mistakes. People with character learn from them. For the past few years I have been working with AAU programs and coached kids like Scoop Jardine, Rick Jackson, Kyle Lowry, Balil Benn, Shane Clark, Sean Singletary, Wayne Ellington, the late Mike Blackshear and many other top-level talents in the City. And now I have a kid who I think may be the best out of all of them if he works hard in the class and on the court. His name is Nurideen Lindsey (Overbrook)! Great player and even better person. That's my calling. I think that's why God put me here on this Earth: to work with the youth and help them not to make the same mistakes that I made in my life.
(This was after I suggested to Erik that kids would love reading his thoughts.)
I would love to do that with you. I want the kids to know that there is much more to life than just Basketball. And that's what I did not know when I was coming up. I thought for me that it was B-Ball or nothing! And I REALLY thought like that. I went to A.B.C.D. Camp twice and was a Top Ten player both years; went to The Adidas Bigtime and averaged 25 pts and went to the final 4; won the prestigious Pump and Run Tournament in Long Beach, Calif., and beat teams with players like Tracy McGrady, Lamar Odom, Jermaine O'Neal . . . and many other top-level talents at that time. I was on everyone's radar. And then just like THAT it all came to an end! But I believed in God and in myself when no one else would. And that's why I believe that I am still playing today. And making great Money I might add. But I do not play for the money. I play because I believe in my talents and so I can pave the way for other kids who came up like me and are looking for a way to make things better for their families through Basketball. I want to help change kids' lives and that's my calling here on this Earth.
(This was after I asked Erik to talk a little about hoops over there, and exactly why he'd gotten sidetracked as a youth.)
Well, it is very different here! And I am really thinking about relocating here in Germany. It's a very different way of life abroad. And for the most part all I have experienced are great things everywhere that I have been. It seems to me like America is where all of the negative things go down! I mean we don't love each other at all, and with love comes Respect, and they go hand and hand. So you can not have one without the other. And the Basketball play is more about the Team than just 1 or 2 players. Of course as the American player you are asked to do a lot but they still do not want people coming in to here be selfish. They play the right way: a lot of passing and moving with out the ball. My living conditions are great! Me and Brandon have a flat with much space of our own, and we share a Volvo. But me being the vet, I let Pooh drive most of the time (ha ha). So, things could not be any better right now.
. . . I was young minded and did not know how much of a business this game is, even in middle school. These colleges and AAU teams look for talent. If I knew then what I know now, I would no doubt would have done a 180. That's why it's my calling to help others not to make the mistakes that I made. My Mother did everything in her power to make sure that me and my brothers had whatever we needed. But it is never easy coming from a single-parent home. Coach Ellerbee was the best man that I have ever had in my life as well as Tennis Young. I credit them for making me into the Man that I am today. Basketball came a little late to me, so I really never looked at myself like others did when I played. It was just fun, and the AAU scene was a way for me to get away with friends, see different places, and just play ball. I never looked at names, but I always felt like I was better then some of big time guys at A.B.C.D. and Vegas. And I still fell that way. But I am very happy to be where I am now. And I am so very happy for my good friend Lynn Greer, who I still talk to almost everyday! As long as I live right by people, I will get what's coming to me.