Christoph Ribbat

Germany for a Season - The true story of Wilbert Olinde, Jr.

(German title: Deutschland für eine Saison)
ca. 272 pages
Christoph Ribbat
Foto: Christoph Ribbat
© Heike Steinweg

Christoph Ribbat, born 1968, is a professor for American Studies at the University of Paderborn after holding posts in Bochum, Boston and Basel.

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Only one »foreigner« per team: in 1977 that’s the limit in the Federal Basketball League. The foreigner in Göttingen is named Wilbert Olinde and has just arrived from Los Angeles. The Germans are surprised by him, and he in turn is surprised by the Germans. He only intends to stay for a year. But then things turn out quite differently indeed.

Germany for a Season tells the story of recent German and American history. It takes us into the day-to-day life of professional basketball players who smoke, women’s teams buzzed on Sekt, and fans singing along to the Kraftwerk sound. And it doesn’t shy away from exploring racism on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s against this panorama that the portrait of Wilbert Olinde arises: a thoughtful American athlete who becomes a German motivational coach, father, and neighbour.

Christoph Ribbat accompanies readers through sunny southern California, sports centres across Germany, and the violent history of Louisiana. He tells the story of a very unique family: of crises and new beginnings, of discrimination and courage. Wilbert Olinde, as this book shows, is a true hero of a culturally diverse society.

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