“Well, people showed up to our press conference. First year it was like crickets,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I think it’s a presence. And even during camp, they were watching what we’re doing, then they’re talking to players on the side and talking about strategy. They’re hoop junkies. These guys they just want to talk basketball really. “Then I noticed people outside our practice facility when you drive out. It’s like Real Madrid. I thought it was funny. There’s a different excitement with the fans. I didn’t say they camped out, but there was some kind of tent there. So I drove around the other way and I came the back way the guy had my picture up. It’s just funny.”
Ryan Wolstat: Marc Gasol wouldn’t pick one championship celebration over the other. “Thanks for putting me in that position though.” Between that and his shoe quip, Marc brought the jokes to media day.
After departing from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the NBA due to his mental health, Alex Abrines joined FC Barcelona. He was not able to travel with his teammates for a large chunk of the 2018-19 season. The 26-year-old Spaniard addressed the matter through Basket en Movistar+ discussing how Russell Westbrook stood by his side and the impact of the issue on his career. “He’s a very nice guy. He helped me a lot especially in the first year” he mentioned referring to Westbrook, “In most of our trips we did something together, watch a movie, have dinner. When I went through all this and did not travel with the team, he kept in touch. He asked me to meet him for dinner. He cared for the person beyond the player. He calmly told me what I should do noting that he would support me if I decided to leave.”
“Athletes are normal people, but are pressured above average. Medication helps, but at the end of the day you must seek professional aid, discuss with friends and family, move forward with their support” adds Abrines on his illness, “It is a different kind of pain. Physical pain is something you can see and feel. Mental pain can not be observed and can not be treated like an injured knee for example. If you don’t go through something similar, you can’t realize it. In the end of the day, money is not above everything. Until it happens, you don’t realize that you don’t give a shit about money.”