With stellar performances since his debut in the ABL, Anthony Tucker has immediately gained himself an immense amount of attention from fans, with some, even comparing him to Jason Kidd as the two seem to share similar intricacies about their games.
Tucker is a triple-double threat for the Chongson Kung Fu, very much like how Kidd was for his respective teams.
Surprisingly, Tucker actually enjoyed watching Gilbert Arenas’ Washington Wizards days, those days when Agent Zero showcased to the entire NBA just how scary he could be when he was in the zone. “He was simply un-guardable at that time,” the 28-year old recalls. These days, he loves watching James Harden, an excellent scorer who can get his teammates involved during any possession.
As a native from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Anthony Tucker grew up playing basketball at a very young age. His mother was, and still is, his biggest supporter ever since the day he picked up the black-grooved orange ball. Mrs. Tucker does anything possible to show her unconditional love and support for Anthony wherever he is playing, even now, in China.
Prior to joining the Chong Son Kung Fu, Tucker played and trained with the Guang Zhou Long Lions from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for a short while, giving himself hands-on encounters that allow him to compare between the ABL and CBA.
“The physicality of the Chinese league is definitely tougher. The players are generally bigger, stronger and faster.”
Imagine guys like Kung Fu teammate Guo Kai, whose game has emerged and integrated nicely into the ABL, but despite that, Kai was still unable to break into the final lineup of the Guang Zhou Long Lions.
Just to put things into perspective.
However, most of the local players from the Kung Fu trained with the Long Lions during the off season, bringing plenty of CBA flare to the team. There aren’t many differences in terms of skillset and play style, ensuring that the Kung Fu is, and will continue to be, a very tough out in the league, as their perfect start to the ABL season already suggests.
As the current top-seed in the ABL, Tucker is definitely one of the key reasons to the team’s success, but he refuses to take all the credit. In fact, he humbly credits these victories to his teammates and coaching staff. It’s a collective effort for the entire organization.
Likewise, with other veterans in the league, he understands that a great start doesn’t necessarily translate to success in the long-run, so the Kung Fu have already turned their focus towards their next game against the Saigon Heat. Pursuing their ultimate objective, one step at a time, as their mentality.
“Basketball usually isn’t the primary sport in most of the countries, so the media advertising and coverage isn’t as great as here in Asia.”
Although he has been with the Chinese team for about two months now, the American import has so far, only traveled to Malaysia for away games. The first visit came during Seri Mutiara Cup 2017, playing with the Guang Zhou Long Lions, and the most recent being against Westports Malaysia Dragons in ABL play.
Neither occasions disappointed Anthony, where he had loads of fun in Kuala Lumpur with his teammates. Moreover, he also acknowledged the great food anywhere and everywhere they went in Malaysia’s capital, making the short stay ever more memorable.
As far as the experiences in the ABL, Anthony seems rather joyous and pleased over the media coverage and passionate fans across the entire region. In comparison to Europe, he says, “basketball usually isn’t the primary sport in most of the countries, so the media advertising and coverage isn’t as great as here in Asia.” So far, he’s personally enjoyed every moment spent here in Asia. And why not? He gets to experience all the different cultures and food that Asia has to offer.
PHOTO CREDIT: CAELAN TIONGSON / INSTAGRAM
It’s a priceless journey he won’t take for granted.
Because of such a prized opportunity, Tucker has also found himself two friends, who together, have already created a wealth of lasting memories in the ABL just a few weeks into the season. Though they’ve only been together for about two months, both Caelan Tiongson and Justin Howard already share brother-like bonds with Anthony, often spending time off the court exploring China together after practices and friendly games. He emphasizes the selfless characteristics among each other allow them to create a unique chemistry on and off the court, believing it to be a crucial element for a championship team.
Even though Atnhony believes every team in the league poses a different challenge to them, he sees defending champion Hong Kong Eastern as the primary team to beat. Both teams are well acquainted, having played with each other before the start of the season, allowing Tucker to form a friendship with Marcus Elliott and Tyler Lamb off the court.
It’s a different sentiment on the court though as Tucker explains. “A rivalry like this will just motivate all of them to compete and trash talk even more aggressively because you never want to lose a battle against your friends in any way.” With four games between the two in the regular season, fans should have ample opportunities to see the no-love-lost-battles.
In describing the Chong Son Kung Fu as a collective unit, the 6’4” point-guard answers with three words.
“Tough. Determined. Swaggy.”
The team is tough, bolstered with players like Tiongson, who continues to ditch reservations, making himself available for any challenges that await. What’s a rookie got to be afraid of anyway? He was only tasked with having to guard the hottest player in the ABL at the time, limiting Marcus Marshall to only 16 points after coming off a record-setting 60-point debut.
“A rivalry like this will just motivate all of them to compete and trash talk even more aggressively because you never want to lose a battle against your friends in any way.”
They are also determined for success. Coach Dube-Brais and the Kung Fu spend hours of their time studying and analyzing every team, in every possible way they can. With such a strong work ethic, the team’s culture has been nothing short of positive and energizing, increasing the appetite for even more success.
As for swaggy?
Tucker believes the team carries themselves with a hint of swag, not to over-do things, but with a sense of confidence to be the top team in the league. Whether it’s trash-talk during practices, celebrations after tough shots, or special handshakes among teammates, the Kung Fu have a winning combination of being mentally tough while remaining stylish in their unwavering quest to feast on the competition in being deemed the ABL’s best.