Single Minded

by Jake Appleman | @JakeAppleman

Kyle Singler won a state championship in high school and an NCAA title in college. During the NBA lockout, the second-round Draft pick of the Detroit Pistons led a Lucentum Alicante team that hadn’t finished in the top half of the ACB standings since 2005 to a winning record before he was scooped up by Real Madrid, the most consistently successful club in European sports history.

Once a PUNKS co-coverboy (along with current co-coverboy Kevin Love), Singler finds himself in a good situation. Yet almost two months into this shortened season, he is the young man who, spurred on by the lockout, put the League on hold. He currently makes more money in Spain than he would playing for the Pistons.

Real Madrid boasts a stacked roster and has needed Singler to play a role instead of being a primary scoring threat, as the team tries to capture the ACB title and win the prestigious Euroleague. As this story went to press, Real was playing well in the Euroleague’s second phase and one game behind rivals Barcelona in the ACB.

It’s the oldest trick in the poetry book—or Facebook for that matter—for an American’s life to be equated to Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, but it actually applies to Singler. As his NBA buddies run around playing five games in seven days, Singler can play two games a week and get a lot of practice. He can watch some of the world’s best soccer teams live or chill at The Ham Museum (El Museo de Jamon). “I’ve done it quickly,” Singler says of his Spanish assimilation.

Like many post-graduate students abroad, Singler has taken to Skype and YouTube to communicate with people in all walks of his life. “I just wanna say thanks for all the support,” he told the Alicante fans before his last game with the team. “It’s been really cool to see.”

For now, Singler will keep seeing Europe and improving as a player. He will better the Pistons when he returns stateside. And from tapas to tip-ins, the road he’s traveled will make all the difference.

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