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Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta English articles. Mostrar todas las entradas

06 agosto 2008

Ronny Turiaf, brave at heart

The Summer of 2005 was a good one for Ronny Turiaf. The former Gonzaga´s star was the 37th overall pick in the NBA Draft. And his new team... the Los Angeles Lakers. He signed a two-year $1 million contract.

He had been playing for the Lakers in a Summer Pro League until the Lakers´ team doctor, John Moe, found an enlarged aortic root in the player's heart during a routine physical exam. After multiple examinations the problem was serious enough to require open heart surgery. At the time, the doctors didn´t know if a valve replacement was necessary, in which case Ronny Turiaf's dream of playing in the NBA could have been shattered. If the problem had gone undetected, he could have suffered a serious, possibly even fatal, injury just by enduring everyday activities.

The Lakers voided Turiaf's contract but retained his rights and, in addition, the team paid for all the expenses from the surgery. Turiaf underwent the six hour open-heart surgery on July 26, 2005. His expected recovery time was between six and twelve months.

As part of his rehabilitation, Turiaf signed with the Continental Basketball Association's Yakama Sun Kings. He played 9 games averaging 13 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

But Turiaf recovered from his surgery quicker than expected and was therefore re-signed with the Lakers on January 17, 2006, less than six months after his surgery.

And now, a year and a half later the French man has just signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors... a team that needs a great heart.

22 junio 2008

How much money does Pau Gasol make?

Pau Gasol was the third pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. The Spaniard signed a contract with the Memphis Grizzlies worth $2,5 million for each of his first three seasons in the NBA.

In 2004 he signed a new contract with the Grizzlies worth $70 million. This is the same contract that he has now with Los Angeles Lakers. In 2011 he'll negotiate a new salary with his team.

Pau also has contracts with some sponsors: Banco Popular, Time Force, PlayStation, EA, Samsong, etc.

According with Forbes he's sportsman number 10 in the list of the best paid athletes in Beijing 2008.

17 abril 2008

Marc, the other Gasol

In a league that thrives off player rivalries, it's hard to look away whenever the opportunity of two brothers squaring off against each other on America's greatest stage rears its head. Such is the case with untested Spanish prospect Marc Gasol.

When the 23-year-old center came close to missing the 2006 World Championship in Japan, yet turned out to be one of the keystones of the Spanish national team's victory, it became even harder to pretend a maddening level of skills didn't run in the family.

Up until that moment, he was known just as Pau's little brother, but Marc has grown as a player ever since. Leaving F.C. Barcelona (the same team Pau started his career and didn't get the opportunity to show his skills) for Girona has helped his development as well.
How good is Marc? The stats tell us he's the best player of the Spanish league, the ACB. Only Rudy Fernandez, the future Portland Trailblazer, comes close in comparison.

Marc Gasol, con la camiseta del Akasvayu Giron...
Image via Wikipedia
If little Gasol decides to start his NBA career, it will be his second American venture. He did, after all, play high school ball in Memphis, at Lausanne High School, when the Gasol family followed Pau overseas upon his being drafted by the Grizzlies in 2001. Although Marc got several offers to play ball in an American college, he decided to return to Spain and play for F.C. Barcelona.

Two years passed and he didn't get many chances to show his potential, at least until the gold medal in Japan and the move to Girona that changed his future.

During the 2006-07 season in Girona, Gasol started 11 of 33 games, shooting 62.1% on two-point attempts (123 of 198). He averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, but it has been the 2007-08 season when he really exploded with 16.5 points and 7.9 boards per game. This season he has won the weekly MVP award seven times and is close to tying the record currently held by Arvydas Sabonis. The now-retired Lithuanian giant won the award ten times before playing for the Portland Trail Blazers in the late 1990's.

The Memphis Grizzlies currently hold Gasol's NBA rights, the same team his brother left a couple of months ago in a trade that saw the two swap teams (along with Kwame Brown and Javaris Crittenton). Initially, however, he had been nabbed in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now the youngest Gasol has to make a decision: maybe Memphis is not the best place for him as it's the place where he saw his brother struggle for the last two seasons. On the other hand, maybe it could be the perfect spot to adjust his game to the NBA. Meanwhile, F.C. Barcelona is willing to welcome him back home with open arms.

Published in Hoops Addict / Selected by USA Today

pagina de USA TODAY

23 marzo 2008

From UCLA with Love

His father, Stan Love, played for the Lakers and the Bullets in the early sixties. His uncle, Mike, was a musician and achieved huge success with The Beach Boys. Kevin Love is one of the biggest sensations of college season. He´s a freshman for UCLA, he´s the team leader and the center of the media´s attention. Actually that´s not a surprise because his career in high school foreshadowed his success.

Aside from having a NBA body Love has mastered the fundamentals of the game . Since he started playing ball he has dedicated his spare time to perfecting his skills to become a well-rounded player. Although he plays center, his technique allows him to shoot three pointers when it´s necessary, pass the ball to the best positioned player, or get to the best spot for the rebound.

But like everybody else, Kevin Love has weaknesses too. Neither quickness nor explosivity are his strengths and either of them can jeopardize the success of a future NBA career, where a lot of times physical power beats technical excellence. Too slow to follow his defender in a league where, theoretically, he won´t have the shelter of the zone or enough power in a competition where second efforts and gym rats rule. Time will tell.

Pedro Bringas

20 julio 2007

A short chat with Chuck Swirsky, the voice of the Raptors

Chuck Swirsky talked to El Quinto Cuarto about the Raptors. Thank you Chuck.

- What percentage of the success last season is because of the job of Bryan Colangelo and Maurizio Gherardini?

Its a total team effort but let's put it this way. Without Bryan and Maurizio we don't make the playoffs period. They are tremendous.

- What makes Andrea Bargnani a special player?

How many seven footers can drill threes and go to the rim with anger?

- What part of his game do you think he has to improve?

He will be better on defense and on the boards this year.

- What do you think of the new Raptors Jason Kapono, Carlos Delfino and, maybe, Giorgos Printezis?

We may not see Giorgos until next season, but I always liked Delfino slasher smart and a good rebounder. Kapono can flat out shoot.

- Delfino hasn´t showed all his skills in the NBA yet. What do you think will be his role in the team?

Delfino can play the 1 and 2 and 3. Mark it down he will be a btter player for the Raptors than Detroit.

- Is it a good idea to keep trying to get more international players?

My opinion is simple. I don't care where they are from. If they can play they can play period.

- What´s the explanation for the increased number of international players in the NBA. Do they play different or is it just that they are good players?

The international players are skilled and well coached and for the most part are not spoiled as some Americans are.

- You work for the only non USA NBA franchise -after Vancouver moved to Memphis-. Do you think it's possible to have an NBA with European teams?

I would love to see the nba go euro but only if its the right situation for everyone involved

- Do you follow European competitions? What do you think of them: the way they play, and how would it be possible to improve thecompetitions and to make distances shorter between the NBA & theEuropean League.

I see my fare share of Euro ball and enjoy the style of play and respect their skill. Overall though the NBA is the best in the world.

07 marzo 2007

Wayne Brabender

Brabender '67-leyenda del baloncesto en España

Posted by Judy Korn on Friday, Mar. 2, 2007

University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) graduate Wayne Brabender’s life has all the elements of a good story—an interesting main character, unexpected turns, competitive action, a bit of humor, and a beautiful, exotic setting. Basketball drives the plot and shapes a narrative rich with success. Although the tale continues—the ending far from written, Brabender’s story is already a legend in his adopted country of Spain.

Brabender identifies his senior year of high school in Milan, Minnesota, as one of the first hurdles in his basketball career. An elbow to the forehead during play resulted in a serious injury, a fractured skull. Benched for most of the year, he only played the last six games of the season. Coach Al Swanson was there to witness his successful comeback and recruited him to play for his team at Willmar Junior College, now Ridgewater College.

“I had two good years at Willmar,” reflects Brabender.

That’s an understatement. In 1965, Willmar Junior College basketball went all the way to the national tournament, and Brabender received offers to finish his last two years of basketball action at universities across the nation.

Coach Swanson counseled Brabender regarding his college decision. “He said I wouldn’t ‘get lost’ at Morris,” remembers Brabender. “And Noel Olson, the UMM coach, was very ‘down to earth.’ I liked him.”

Cougar success

The next exciting episode of Brabender’s story would be played in Morris as a Cougar “basketball star,” as the newspapers called him. In 1967, he was named Most Valuable Player, received Northern Intercollegiate Conference honors, and was selected as a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American. Forty years after graduating from UMM, he continues to hold Cougar records: highest career scoring average at 23.6 highest season average points per game at 24.3 highest season total rebounds at 303 and single game most rebounds at 23.

Now for a humorous interlude…and a dramatic turn of events. The NBA Philadelphia 76ers drafted Brabender in 1967, but that summer, they happened to mention his name and his talents to a very famous Spanish coach representing Real Madrid, Spain’s premiere basketball club. This event in Brabender’s story is told on Real Madrid’s Web site as an important part of the team’s history:

"So mythical Pedro Ferrándiz went away to see this boy. To Morris, a small city in Minnesota, really far from Filadelfia. When he arrived, a very blond and very thin boy opens the door for him. Ferrándiz asks him for his older brother. ‘My older brothers don’t play basketball,’ answers Wayne Brabender."

On first meeting, Brabender didn’t match Ferrándiz’s expectations. But after watching the tenacious guard play, Ferrándiz was convinced his skills would benefit Real Madrid. He invited Brabender to join the team. The young Minnesotan traveled to Spain to play the familiar game he loved in an unfamiliar place that would soon become home.

International achievements

Brabender played professional basketball with Real Madrid for 16 years, garnering 14 league championships, 7 Spanish Cup Championships, 3 International Cup Championships, 1 World Championship for Clubs, and 4 European Club Championships.

For 14 years, he played with the Spanish National Team earning a silver medal in the European championship and MVP of Europe in 1973. The following year, the Spanish National Team placed fifth in the world championship in Puerto Rico—an outstanding feat for Spanish basketball at the time, and Brabender received all-world first team honors.

The Olympics are also a chapter in Brabender’s basketball career. He played in the Munich games in 1972 and the Moscow games in 1980 when the Spanish team took fourth place. In 1988, he was in Seoul as an assistant coach. Coaching has also brought Brabender success, at the professional level and at the club level. In 1989, under Brabender’s leadership as head coach, Spain won the world SUP 22 championship.

Teaching and playing ball

This year, Brabender marks 40 years in Spain and almost as many as a Spanish citizen. The UMM experience—academics and relationships with fellow students and coaches— “has helped me throughout the years,” he says. He “validated” his UMM degree in Spain and now teaches physical education at a private school in Getafe, a position he enjoys very much. He makes his home in the historic city of Illescas.

Basketball remains a vital component of Brabender’s story. He’s the sports director at a successful basketball club, Club Deportivo Illescas, that has produced two championship teams. During the summer, he directs three basketball camps in Alabacete, La Rua Ourense, and for La Fundación Real Madrid.

And Brabender—a member of the Cougar Hall of Fame and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Hall of Fame—is still playing basketball, 30-40 games per year throughout Spain and around the world. “It’s a great way to keep promoting basketball,” he says.

Brabender calls himself and his teammates “the old timers.” Their official name is much more accurate: Real Madrid Leyendas del Baloncesto—basketball legends.

fuente/ source & foto/photo

18 octubre 2006

The new Petrovic?

Translated into English by Allison Abramson

Just one year ago, Ricard “Ricky” Rubio- born in El Masnou, October 21, 1990— became the youngest player to debut in the ACB league.  On the day of his debut, he still hadn’t even blown out his 15 candles. Today we are in the presence of an important player of a first-level team like Joventut, whose inexhaustible reserve of young players never get tired of showing their talent year after year. The green and black point-guard is capable of playing and orchestrating plays while surrounded by his opponents and teammates, who in some cases, are twice his age. His statistics leave no room for doubt as they are leading him to be the sixth man of La Penya’s (Joventut) rotation. This summer, the young basketball prodigy returned to the center of media attention when the Spanish national team was awarded the European U16 championship title: in the final he tallied up an impressive 51 points, 24 rebounds, 12 assists, and 7 steals, in addition to forcing an overtime during which he scored a 3-point shot from mid-court.

As soon as he turns sixteen, Rubio will sign his first professional contract. His team has been trying to stop the rumors and avoid the temptations by the rival teams, who are very interested in getting the contract of the future star.       Up until now, it has been impossible since the labor legislation forbids the employment of youths under the age of 16. This is quite a contradiction, as Ricky shares the locker-room with professionals who make their living on the court. Achieving success in a sport at such a young age can have its disadvantages and can end up damaging the professional career of a boy who has yet to graduate high school. There are a few previous young athletes who were not able to reach the finish line, unlike sports icons like Fernando Alonso or Tiger Woods.  Basketball in the United States has an advantage over us in this situation. There, with the exception of a few cases, players who have not graduated from college (usually graduate by age 22) are not allowed to leap into the professional circuit. Rubio will have to mature on a personal level, with the help and control of the people around him. At the moment, it seems that Aito has taken the reigns. Ricky does not even appear on La Penya’s official website as a player of the first team.

The comparisons in terms of his premature impact on European basketball are similar to another point guard, equally as precocious in his time: Drazen Petrovic.    When the genius from Sibenik jumped into the limelight, the NBA remained a far reach for any European basketball player. However, in the case of Rubio, they are already talking on end about his future in playing for the best league in the world, while there is still a long way to go around these parts. Either way, he knows that to be a well-rounded player, he has to apply the same amount of intensity on defense as he does in the attack. To make even more improvements in his technical performance as well as to prepare himself physically, he still has time. But he is off to a good start…already wearing #32, the same number as Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Published in Libertad Digital (October 15th, 2006)

10 octubre 2006

Will 2007 be the year of basketball?

Translated into English by Allison Abramson

Pepu Hernández said it clear in the celebration in Plaza de Castilla: "BA-LON-CES-TO" (BAS-KET-BALL). Twenty two years earlier, Diaz-Miguel´s national team was awarded the Olympic silver medal in Los Angeles after losing by 31 points against the hosts, whose rosters consisted of some college athletes by the name of Jordan, Ewing and Mullin. At that time, Fernando Martín, Epi, Corbalán and De la Cruz had to look up to the Americans from the step below. In the recent World Championship Finals of 2006, the FIBA deprived our team of that great pleasure by allowing the pseudo-‘dream team’ to leave Japan before the award ceremony took place. The early mornings of 1984 (eager Spaniards cutting their sleep short to watch the game via satellite) signified the jump-start of basketball in our country: the recently born ACB league, the two foreigners per team rule, the basketball sportscasts on the radio, etc. The growth of the national competition ran parallel to the stumbles and disappointments of the national team, culminated by the disaster against Angola in Barcelona ´92. That disappointment marked the end of the boom until the appearance of the Juniors de Oro (the Golden Juniors) -with Gasol on the bench!- which gave us new hope. Until now, only the national team has succeeded in crossing the barrier that separates the lifetime fan from the general crowd, that crowd that is so necessary for the professional league to regain its status.

Four Spaniards will play in the NBA next season. Gasol and Calderón will be joined by Sergio Rodríguez (Blazers) and Jorge Garbajosa (Raptors), while in Spain, the rosters are filled with foreign players that come and go, causing the fans not to be able to identify with their own teams. The Spanish headcount in the NBA could have been five if Barcelona had not held on to "La Bomba" (The Bomb) Navarro, who will have to wait one more year before he can step foot on the NBA court. Next year could be Rudy´s turn, without forgetting that he could be joined by players like Scola or Splitter, for example. In the U.S., the Spaniards will be a small part of the growing foreign legion and, of course, they will have to pay their dues: getting use to a more physical and individual style of playing; being a ‘no-name’ in a competition where the hierarchy are over-respected; adjusting to life in a country very different from their own, continuously travelling, etc.

Meanwhile, in terms of technique, the European and South American players have nothing to envy of their North American colleagues. However, in regards to the level of organization and publicity, we continue to be light-years away from the U.S. league: the national & international European leagues have nothing to offer the spectators to get them hooked… and the escape of talented athletes does nothing more than aggravate the problem. For European basketball—and consequently for Spanish basketball—there’s only one alternative on the horizon—the creation of a true, professional, continental league, or better yet, the integration of a European division in the NBA.

At the height of the new course of basketball, Eurobasket 2007 will be celebrated on Spanish soil. Let’s hope that this European appointment will confirm the basketball ‘boom’ and that, once again, Pepu Hernandez can count on his best players. Someone seems to have clear intentions, thinking the same today as he thought yesterday, despite the desires of ‘politicians-of-the-day’ taking advantage of the success of the sport. Perhaps in 2007, the ‘bad boy’ in the recent commercial, will be kicking the little angel off of the basketball court.

Original article published in Libertad Digital (October 4th 2006)