Standing 6’8” with a plus-wingspan, Bobi Klintman fits a highly sought-after role in college basketball — he has the ability to guard multiple positions, attack the basket, stretch the floor and make plays for others. Klintman has been a standout for RIG Mark Academy in Sweden and recently made the jump to the pro level with Boras to continue gaining experience and test his skill against older competition. While he is still rounding out certain aspects of his perimeter game, he has shown really positive progression in his development.
Klintman picked up his first offer from the University of San Francisco in the summer of 2020, but due to his recent play and exposure more universities have since taken notice. Klintman now holds offers from Kansas, Utah, Virginia, Rutgers, Santa Clara, and Nebraska, as well. While he does have a good idea who he plans to visit, he is still eager to be seen and is communicating with other interested institutions. He has been making a name for himself this past season, and that only looks to continue as he weighs coming over to the states for his senior year.
No matter where he ends up, Klintman will provide versatility at the forward position, the ability to stretch the floor and a plus-feel for the game that he’ll look to continue building on. Look for him to try and assert himself on the U.S. map next season as he is hungry to continue proving himself.
This interview delves into Klintman’s background, his basketball experiences in Sweden, his desire to play in the U.S., why he looks up to Giannis, what his goals are as a player, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Bobi Klintman, from Malmö, Sweden:
Pro Insight: Tell us a bit about your background.
Bobi Klintman: I’m born in Sweden, my mom is also Swedish and my dad is from Senegal, Africa. I’ve played basketball since I was like four years old. My parents are separated and my bonus father, he’s a head coach and played basketball when he was younger. He is a head coach here in Sweden so growing up I was always on the sidelines shooting with him everywhere, so I just really fell in love with the game from 3-4 years old. Everything started there, then I started to play with my cousin and my brother when I was around eight years old. I just fell in love with the game and I wanted to just get better all the time. I switched teams when I started high school and I moved from my family, I moved to Gothenburg, Sweden. I’m originally from Malmö, Sweden, so I moved like three hours away from my family and started at RIG Mark Academy. I think I’ve developed very much here, it’s a great academy. Then COVID came and things got worse, so I switched teams to a pro league team here in Sweden and that’s where I’m at right now.
PI: You're listed at 6'8" tall — where did you get your height from?
BK: I would say my father because he’s like 6’6” tall and my mom is pretty tall too, she’s 176 cm [~5’9” tall], so yeah I think it’s from my parents.
PI: Can you talk a little about your athletic background?
BK: My bonus father, he’s the one who put me in the basketball world because he played from age 18 years old to when he was grown and he played in Sweden in the highest league. I think he played in Spain too, and he was pretty good. So he put me into basketball, my [older] brother also plays and he’s playing at Scotland Campus Prep. Then I’ve got two cousins who also play basketball, they play here at my high school right now [Rig Mark Academy], they’re good too. I think that’s my athletic background — got some soccer players in the family too, but yeah that’s it.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
BK: Yeah, I played soccer, wrestling, but I wasn’t wrestling for that long [laughs]. I was swimming too, I was playing hockey without ice, floorball. I played handball. I played a lot of sports when I was young, but I fell in love with basketball so I stick with basketball the most.
PI: For those that aren’t super familiar with your game — what are your greatest strengths on the court?
BK: I would say I’ve got a pretty good three-point shot. I’m pretty athletic, too. I’ve got a good feel for the game, good playmaker, and I have pretty good handles for my size. So I would say those are my biggest strengths. I’m pretty versatile, too.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most?
BK: I would say my defense, because if I would be a better defender, if I could defend well at multiple positions and then be good at offense that would be really scary. I would say gain some weight, too — get bigger. I think that would take my game to another level. I think that’s what I need to improve.
PI: What are some underrated parts of your game you feel you don’t get enough credit for?
BK: I would say my athleticism. I’m athletic, but a lot of people don’t know that. They don’t know I can dunk, so I’m shocking them — so that’s one underrated aspect of my game. One thing I saw when I came to the higher level here in Sweden, they think just because I’m young they're disrespecting my shot you know, so they’re letting me shoot open shots. So I’m just taking that and shooting the ball, so that’s good. They’re like thinking just because I’m young I’m not good.
PI: Who has been your toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
BK: That’s a good question, I would say I’ve faced many tough matchups. One of them was last week when we played Lulea and they have a guy named Tristin Walley, he’s really good. I think that’s one of the toughest matchups and I would say a guy on my team here at high school, his name is Romeo Myrthil [committed to Dartmouth], he’s playing in the league [Swedish league] right now too, but on another team. He can do it all: he can shoot, defend, he’s strong, all of that stuff. So I would say that’s one of my toughest matchups.
PI: What has the adjustment from RIG Academy to Boras been like?
BK: I would say it’s a big adjustment. The speed and physicality is much tougher in the higher league. People are coming from college and stuff like that so you really get to develop in another way. I think that’s the good thing about it because I’m developing faster, I’m playing against players who are bigger and stronger than me and they know more about the game. So I think that’s really good. The easy part is I’m playing with good players so they make me better and I think that’s good, too.
PI: Is this the first time you've played above your age group?
BK: Nah, I’ve always played with [players] two years older than me, so I’m used to that. But this is a grown man so it’s another thing, you know?
PI: Do you model your game after anyone in particular?
BK: I wouldn’t say that I model my game after anybody, but I would say I get compared to different players. I like Giannis the most, but I’ve gotten compared to De’Andre Hunter. I also think I’m pretty similar to him when I watch his game. But I’m also trying to be a bit different because there aren’t many 6’8” players who can play the PG spot, too, and that’s what I’m trying to develop. To also play the guard spot, to be a threat at the guard spot. That’s also one of my things I’m trying to develop.
PI: You seem to have some real passing ability — is that another underrated aspect of your game?
BK: Yeah I would say that’s pretty underrated, many players want to score and I’m always looking for small stuff like setting a screen, passing ability, and stuff like that — because if you have a shot, but your teammate has a better shot then you should pass it to him. And I know everybody wants to play with a guy who can playmake because you’re always loved by your team if you’re giving them the ball, you know? So that’s one thing I’m always trying to make sure — get my teammates better, pass them the ball if they’re open, you get a free assist.
PI: What are your short term goals as a player and as a person?
BK: To perform in the U18 European Championship, go to college and be the best player I can be, try to get ready for college, and yeah that’s my short term goals right now. I would also say, as I said before, to work on my game, work on my skill-set, and get bigger.
PI: How about long term?
BK: It’s the NBA for sure, it’s the NBA. To be an All-Star, to be the best player I can be. I want to give everything to my mom because she’s been there from the start so I don’t want her to work when she’s like 50 years old — I want her to just like sit at home and watch my games and stuff like that so I can pay everything for her. So all my friends, my brother who has been there from the start, if he’s not making it, I want him to be like my mom, I want to do everything for him. And of course my friends, so yeah, that’s my main goal.
PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment?
BK: If you haven’t seen it yet I got many offers in February and March — there are many teams writing to me right now. I’m getting more offers for sure, but it’s harder during COVID because it’s a bit different with zoom calls and stuff like that. It’s harder to not meet the coaches in person and stuff; that’s also one negative thing with the recruitment process because you can’t go visit the school. I think that would make everything faster if you could visit schools and see how it is.
PI: Who are the schools that are staying in touch?
BK: I would say every school is staying in touch that has offered me...they’re calling like every week, keeping up with me, we’re talking on the phone. You know my five official visits, I think I’ll pick my five schools soon because I pretty much know where I want to visit so that’s one thing that’s getting done soon. I’m talking to more schools than those who have offered me and we’ll see how it goes with that, hopefully I’ll get more offers, it’s always good. It’s harder when you’re in Sweden because I’m not in the states, so it’s much harder, but I’ve been thinking about high school [in the United States] just to get put on the map and people know who I am and stuff like that — but we’ll see how it goes.
PI: What are all the factors for why you'd want to come to the United States for high school?
BK: Yeah it would be a little bit COVID related, but also like we don’t play games like they do in the states. They’re having more games and stuff like that and I think I can get more used to the American play style and that would give me positive development on the way to college. Just to get used to the American play style and it would be easier to take visits to colleges if I’m already in the states.
PI: Have you been talking with various high schools?
BK: Yeah I’ve been talking to some high schools. I’ve been talking to Sunrise Christian, Dream City Christian, Wasatch Academy, Real Salt Lake, Prolific Prep, Southern California Academy. So I’ve been in touch with many high schools, we’ll see where I land, it’s still a secret [laughs]. I’ll put it out on social media when I know.
PI: Who are the colleges that have offered so far?
BK: The colleges that have offered me are Nebraska, Utah, San Francisco, Rutgers, Virginia, Kansas, and Santa Clara Broncos. So right now I got seven offers.
PI: When do you think you'll trim the list down?
BK: I think I don’t have to speed it up because I have one more year before college so I think I have time, but I think it’s coming soon because the schools that I like that I talk to...I pretty much know where I want to visit. But I’m still talking to schools that haven’t offered me yet, so I still have to be in contact with them and see what they have to offer and stuff like that. So yeah, that’s why I’m waiting a little bit. Say I come to the states next year, you don’t know if I’ll get more exposure and stuff like that so I think I have to wait a little bit before I commit to any college.
PI: Growing up overseas, did you ever have any dream colleges?
BK: Yeah [laughs]. I had a dream college, I had UCLA. I remember when I was like 12 years old and I saw a movie clip of their campus and stuff like that and you know it’s like Hollywood and stuff like that, so I thought it was really nice. But right now I don’t have a dream college, I would say I’m looking for a program — like everything about the program like what’s good and what’s bad with the program. Where I can develop the most and stuff like that.
PI: What all are you looking for in a school of choice?
BK: I’m looking for a good one both academically and basketball-wise. I’m also looking for a good fit for me, if it’s a good playing style, good coach, if I can develop to be the best player I can be, hopefully get to the NBA and stuff like that. All of the important stuff, that’s what I’m looking for.
PI: Did you ever expect to be receiving this much attention?
BK: No I wasn’t expecting that, I’ve always been like a nobody. I wouldn’t say that I was bad at basketball because I think I’ve always been pretty good, but here in Sweden it’s so hard to get exposure. I’ve got to give props to RIG Mark because I think we’re the only school in Sweden that’s going abroad like to the states and to Spain and stuff like that to get exposure so I wasn’t thinking I would get that much exposure.
PI: When did you feel like you could play college or pro and how did that change your approach?
BK: I’ve always had college as the goal, I’ve always thought I’m going to college. So I’ve been working for that. So I would say that’s always been with me. I wouldn’t say since I started playing because when I started I wasn’t so serious about it. I thought it was a fun game and stuff like that, but when it got serious I started thinking I want to go to college.
PI: What was it like getting your first offer?
BK: I was really excited, I was really happy. I was really happy when I got all of my offers, I think it’s special because they believe in you as a player. So I’m always happy when I get new offers, it’s really good.
PI: What kind of system best fits your strengths as a player?
BK: I would say programs that shoot a lot of threes, I like to play fast. In Europe we play pretty systematically, I wouldn’t say I have to play on a systematic team with a lot of plays, but that’s kind of why I want to go to American high school, to get used to the American playing style. I would say a team that plays fast and shoots a lot of threes — that’s what I like to play.
PI: What are some things that you bring to a team off the court?
BK: I would say I’m a fun guy, pretty goofy [laughs]. Always jokes around and stuff like that, but if someone is down and sad, I’m always there, if you’re my brother I’m always there. Often when you’re on a basketball team you always connect as brothers so I will always be there for the guys on my team.
PI: Are you the jokester on the team?
BK: Yeah, I’m always joking around [laughs]. When I’m on the court I’m serious, but as soon as we step off the court I’m always joking [laughs]. I would also say my PS4 is a key to success you know, because when I’m not playing basketball I’m always on Fortnite or Warzone, all of that [laughs]. So that’s also a big key to my happiness, I love playing PS4.
PI: What would you say is the smartest purchase you’ve ever made?
BK: I would say my basketball shoes, because I’m always using them. So I would say that’s my smartest purchase.
PI: Do you have a favorite book?
BK: To be honest I’m not reading that much, but I read a book in school that was really good. I read Frankenstein, I thought it was really good. I would say that’s the only book that really got me to read it directly, I read it through it like one week. I was finished with the book in one week, so yeah I’d say Frankenstein. I think I like the story of Frankenstein, I think it’s pretty good. I don’t know how to explain it more, but yeah. I don’t really like to read that much, but it had me get stuck to it so something was special with the book. I don’t know what it was, but yeah it was good.
PI: What’s your most embarrassing moment?
BK: Yeah I have one, we were in the school lunch hall and everybody was getting their lunch and stuff like that. All of the girls, everybody was there in the lunch hall, and my teammates set me up because there was a chair that was broken, so they put it beside him and I was going to sit down with my food you know, I was putting it down on the table and then when I was going to sit down on the chair it just fell away because the part of the chair was like gone, and everybody started laughing and stuff like that and I got so embarrassed [laughs].
PI: What’s your all-time favorite memory on the basketball court?
BK: I was younger, I was like 15 years old or something like that and I had my first game winner. They were a pretty good team, I think they were like the second seed or something like that in the league and we were down in the league. We didn’t have the best team, me and my cousin, we put up like 70 points together out of like 100 [points], so we were pretty good together. So we were under by one point and we had the last possession. So I had the ball and there was like three seconds left, so I did a crossover and pulled up from 3 and I made it and we won the game. The first game winner, I will always remember that. So I think that’s my best memory, basketball-wise.
PI: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
BK: I would say when somebody is snoring. I hate that, because you can’t sleep when they’re doing it, you’re just laying there thinking about it. I would say that’s my biggest pet peeve, like I want to slap them [laughs].
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see a fortune in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
BK: I would buy a big mansion, a lamborghini, and some new drip. That’s what I would buy.
PI: What are you most passionate about outside of the game of basketball?
BK: I would say playing video games. I’m a sneakerhead, I love sneakers. And just to chill out with my friends. I have like three best friends so we’re always hanging around and I love to be with them, so I would say those are my passions outside basketball.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
BK: Damn [laughs]. I don’t really know actually, my whole life is basketball. I haven’t really thought about anything else. I would say something with the society, just to help society. I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it really. I think I’ll figure it out by the end of my career.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
BK: I would say success is when me and my family have everything we want, when I’ve done everything that I could in my career, and also when...it’s a hard question, it’s pretty deep. But in short I would say when me and my family have everything, when I achieve all of my goals. I would say that’s success. But I mean you can succeed in different ways, like small stuff can be success for you, just like making your 100 points could be success for you. I would say making all of your small goals would be success for me.
PI: Who would you say has been the biggest influence on your life up to this point?
BK: I would say my bigger brother, who also plays basketball. He’s always been there by my side since I was young. We always practiced together and stuff like that, and he’s also been my role model since I was young. I always wanted to be like him. So I would say my bigger brother.
PI: With your dad being a former player, himself, what has he instilled in you over the years?
BK: I would say he’s had a big influence on my shot because I remember when I was younger I would watch the NBA and I always wanted to shoot 3s, but I didn’t have good form when I shot the ball. He told me, “you can’t shoot outside the three-point line if you don’t have good form.” After practice we’d always put up shots, 100 shots or 200 shots, just to get a good form. Then once I had good form I could finally shoot 3s and stuff like that. So I would say he’s been turning me into a good shooter, he’s been helping me with that. And he’s always pushing me to get out of my comfort zone, because I was pretty lazy, I’ve always been pretty lazy since I was young. So he’s always been pushing me to get out of my comfort zone and do things I don’t want to, you know? So that’s one good thing with him.
PI: Would you say you rely more on your natural talent and ability or on your work ethic?
BK: I would say work ethic for sure, because if you’re talented and don’t work then you will get nowhere — but if you’re always working you will always get better. So I would say rely on work ethic, that’s always going to bring the best out of yourself.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
BK: Yeah, as I said before, I would say my bigger brother because he’s always had a good influence on me. He has always been the “good kid,” has done the right stuff, and my mom always told me, “look at your brother, he’s doing this and you’re doing this” so I think he’s a good role model. Also Giannis Antetokounmpo because he made it to the NBA, he’s like an All-Star/MVP, and he’s kind of the exact same situation as me. He came from Europe, nobody knew who he was. I also want to do what he did — he came from Europe and nobody knew who he was and he got seen and went like this [pointing up]. He’s got a good story, so that’s also a role model for me.
PI: Talk about a time or story in your life that you feel has really shaped who you are today.
BK: I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a moment that’s shaped who I am today, but during all the years I’ve played basketball you’ve seen who is real and stuff like that. Because as of two weeks ago I was in the newspaper in Sweden, I’m getting noticed in Sweden, people know who I am basketball-wise and people come to me and want to be my friend and stuff like that. You really see who has been there from the start, you start to see who wants to be your friend just because of your basketball game. I think I’ve been shaped as a person just with time...my mom has always taught me right, my brother has been there, I think those are the people who have shaped me into who I am today. And my friends, too — those who have been there from the start.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
BK: I would say, some advice that my head coach gave me three weeks ago about recruitment stuff. It’s things behind the scenes with college and all of that, agents trying to get to know you, he told me to just stay with my mom and stick with what I want. Just listen to yourself, don’t let other people tell you what you have to do and stuff like that. So I think that’s good advice that I got from my head coach, because he’s been through that stuff. He played at Davidson College so he’s been through that, so I’m trusting him.
PI: How have you handled and responded to adversity in your life?
BK: I would say with basketball because when I’m sad and stuff is happening in my life I always get on the court just to — think I’m getting in my own bubble when I’m playing basketball because I’m not thinking about anything negative or stuff like that. So I would say just think a little bit about it and then go and play basketball, that’s the best way.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
BK: Different. Funny. Gym-rat. Kind.
PI: If someone were to write a book or a movie about your life, what would be the title?
BK: Something like The Kid from Sweden or something like that, The Swede Freak [laughs]. Something like that.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
BK: I would say I want to be remembered as one of the greatest players to play the game and as someone who is a really good role model for kids coming from the same situation, coming from Europe, Sweden, who don’t get noticed. I think that’s what I want to be remembered as.
Watch the full interview with Bobi, here