ne of the greatest honors of my basketball career so far, without a doubt, was winning the EuroLeague with Barcelona in 2010.
That year, the final four was in Paris at the AccorHotels Arena, and the atmosphere every match was unlike anything I had ever seen for our sport in Europe. I remember, five minutes into our match during a timeout the whole arena went crazy. Our team was kind of looking around at each other like, “What’s going on here?” Then we saw. There, in the front row, were four Barcelona players including Xavi, Puyol and a few others, as well at the president at the time, Joan Laporta.
After we beat Olympiacos that night, our whole team ran over to Xavi and Puyol to ask them questions about the soccer team. They wanted to hear about our season, but you have to remember, this was peak Barcelona. They had such incredible players and we wanted to know all about them.
That’s one of the reasons, on top of accomplishing a life-long goal, that made the night so memorable.
The EuroLeague final four will always hold a special place in my heart because of that year. I recently went to Vitoria to see this year’s edition of the final four — and man, for real, it’s still incredible.
Take a look.
Photographs by Tim Clayton/The Players’ Tribune
We used to watch a lot of EuroLeague and ACB, which are the two leagues back home in Spain. And we used to dream about playing for those teams one day. There was a lot of talent in those leagues at the time, and there still is.
In 2001, I watched Kinder Bologna win the EuroLeague, and I thought, Damn, I want to the win that some day. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing in the world.