First things first… This is a dream come true for any basketball player and it’s clearly a dream for me too. Seeing the jersey of the Boston Celtics, the winningest team in the NBA, with my name there is something I will always cherish. Then getting the chance to go to Vegas, a city so lively and unreal, is a plus. It’s much more than I was expecting.
I didn’t come here just to watch, though. I’m obviously in awe by a place like Caesar’s Palace, where the Celtics are hosted (my room is like a little palace, by the way) or by going to the physical tests in a limousine; that’s something you don’t see in Spain… But that’s not the point. The most important thing here is the game itself. I came to play to the summer league for two reasons: getting the chance to face NBA players and making the Celtics win the tournament.
I know the final scores in these competitions are not all that important to many people, but to me that’s where it all begins. So with teammates like Gerald Green (it’s almost impossible not to get your shot blocked by him in practice!) or Rajon Rondo (he’s lightning-quick and one of the first teammates to approach me and make me feel welcomed here), I think we’re going to have a chance to win this thing.
Practice here is very different to what I’m used to in Spain. It’s just a whole different rhythm since there are A LOT of players with the team. We get to practice the pick-and-roll, five-on-five, defensive drills… And it’s all run by Doc Rivers. I’m being coached by an NBA legend that I watched on TV when I was a kid – that doesn’t go unnoticed to me. His assistants pay a lot of attention to details and they congratulate you when you do a good work and show effort. That’s one thing I’m never going to lack.
I’m already waiting for my first game against the Blazers, where I’ll be facing Sergio “Spanish Chocolate” Rodriguez and that guy Greg Oden. The feeling of anticipation for playing against him is great, although I think my teammate Leon Powe – very strong, very intense – can make things hard for him defensively. We’ll see what happens and if I can get some minutes in the game. I’m very excited about it and I’ll take advantage of every second I play.
On a sidenote, let’s talk food – which is a hot topic when it comes to Euros in the United States. I’m doing fine, thanks. My teammate Andreas Glyniadakis already knows the stuff and takes me to buffets that keep us full of energy these days… And not just for practice, but also when you have to find the room of the hotel, which takes great effort. I have to walk around with a map!
Cheers for all the readers of HoopsHype. It feels great to be a Celtic.