Tonight, against the great Panathinaïkos, I am going to play again in the EuroLeague. Before the tip-off, I will remind myself some memories about my first games in this competition during my spell in Vitoria, six years ago, during the NBA Lock Out. I was only able to play a couple of games before going back to the USA…
Today, things are a bit different. Six years have passed, and I gained experience, but I always keep the same motivation and the same eagerness to learn and win it all.
My decision to sign with Barcelona was also driven by the opportunity to win the EuroLeague title with the Blaugrana colours on, and to also help write another amazing page on the team’s history. I love the crowd at the Palau, and I can’t wait to be on the court in a couple of hours. I know that every fan, the entire Blaugrana Nation is going to support us to get that win, and to show us love in the beginning of our quest of the continental title.
Travelling around Europe, discovering new arenas and intense crowds, but also compete against other French players, including some former teammates, is going to be exciting. Almost ten years ago, I was playing in Pro A with Nando De Colo, and two years after, I won the French league with Fabien Causeur. When we will play against CSKA Moscow or the Clasico in November, we will most likely (and nicely) trash talk each other a bit, but I will keep the same mind-set of winning whoever I am playing against.
Tonight, I am going to face a friend of mine, and a former teammate in the NBA, Chris Singleton. I am happy to be able to see him again, we had some great times in D.C.
Winning the continental competition won’t be any easy task. We would need to face so many talented teams to reach the crown. CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid, Saski Baskonia or Fenerbahçe for example, have heavy rosters and are going to be fierce teams to beat.
In that ‘regular season’ format, every game is going to be very important. Our perfect start of the Liga Endesa helps us be confident, being unbeaten after three games. We couldn’t have had a better start! The team has a great chemistry and the group is very united, and we enjoy playing with each other. We feel that we have a very special group of guys that can achieve great things. The game won last week in Badalona, the Catalan derby, showed that we are warriors that won’t ever give up, always having success in our minds.
As I am waiting for tonight’s game, I am still going to discover that wonderful city of Barcelona. What an incredible weather, people are so nice! Being an athlete in this kind of city is a privilege!