Marcelinho Huertas: “Passion keeps me at this level”

NOT that he was the Benjamin Button of European basketball, Marcelinho Huertas leads the lenovo tenerifethe current best team in Spain, from the experience given by their 39 years. “Everyone knows what he feels and I happily live life and basketball in such an intense and passionate way.”

Today he leads his team again, which this Sunday will dispute the leadership to Madrid (13:00, Movistar+ Sports). Highlights Tavares. “A dominant player on both sides,” she analyzes. And he gives some keys to fight for that leadership to the team of Chus Mateo: “They have that very strong characteristic and very upright players with the ability to score three points in counter-attack situations. We have to try to maintain our game rhythm and make them adapt to our style, and not the other way around”.

In his prolific career, the honor of having shared a dressing room with kobe ​​bryant in his last season. In little more than a month it will be three years since the death of the black mamba, a player for eternity. He remembers it this way: “He had a different head than most American players having lived in Italy when he was young. I prefer the simplicity that was seen in the day-to-day life of the dressing room. When I got there, it’s something that had a huge impact on me. When you arrive and see Kobe…”.

This was the conversation held with the AS Diary on the eve of one of the most important games of the season:

Add 600 games in Spain, more than any foreigner in the history of our basketball. What does that number tell you?

That many years and a lot of water have passed under the bridge (he laughs). I am very happy, but not only for having achieved those 600 games, but also for being the foreigner with the most games in the best league in Europe. I couldn’t be happier. Now I have to keep playing and keep competing at the level we are doing. I can’t ask for much more. Simply, to thank everyone who has passed through my sports career since the day I arrived in Badalona, ​​in 2004. I have been very comfortable in all the places I have been through. They have all been very beautiful stages, all with successful trajectories and seasons, I think. I can’t ask for more, I’m very grateful to be a lucky player to have been able to achieve this.

He has been away from his country, Brazil, for almost half of his life. Did she ever imagine being away from home for so long competing at such a high level?

(Thinks about it). When you leave your house and come to play in an unknown place, and you see how things are… Especially as a young player. You come to a team in which you may not have as much prominence at the beginning. It’s hard to imagine, but the desire has been there since day one; the desire to learn and continue to improve as a player. I think that’s why I managed to do what I did and continue to do. This sport has always motivated me a lot. I think that the passion with which I wake up every day allows me to continue here enjoying and learning. And competing, which is what I like the most: competing with the best and always trying to do the best possible at a collective level so that the team always has a good season.

You talk about the passion you feel for basketball. He has been competing at the highest level in Europe for many years and played two seasons with the Lakers. Is it what, at 39 years old, leads you to get up every morning wanting to play basketball?

Undoubtedly. If it weren’t for that, many players, after having established themselves in a certain way on an individual level by having gone through certain renowned teams, such as Baskonia or Barça, may lose interest, or see that they are older and think more about having fun than to really compete (laughs). I have seen it in another way, and I have demonstrated it in recent years. Maybe I haven’t been in these teams with such a name, but even so we have competed the same and even better than others with much more names. Thus we have achieved things that people would not even have thought of. My way of seeing sport is still different from other people. Everyone knows what he feels and I happily live life and basketball in such an intense and passionate way. That has allowed me to get here at this age and continue competing at this level.

You are also very strict with the care of your physique and your diet.

Yes. Everything you can do to improve your form on the court… There are a thousand things you can do off it. The invisible work: rest, food, personal care on a mental level, which is also very important when it comes to being able to stay focused and not let problems from off the court influence you negatively on it. You can prepare a lot on a physical level to prevent injuries. The injuries have also respected me, and that is something important in a long career. But there is no secret. Today everyone can have access to all these improvements at an individual level outside of training and match times to be able to take care of themselves and try to be in your top from performance for when you have to be competing.

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Since you arrived at Lenovo Tenerife it seems that the ceiling of the team is getting higher every day. When you think you’ve reached your peak, you always go further.

And hopefully we can continue in this line. I think that the dynamics of the team on a day-to-day basis is very good. Training we take everything very seriously. Apart from the quality of the group, we respect our rivals a lot. That allows us, especially with teams that are of the same level as us, to compete equally and even above our possibilities. These last years have been magnificent, and hopefully we can continue in this line. If we are allowed to continue dreaming, the team is hungry, talented and a great coach and coaching staff that also allow us to win many games at a tactical level. The fact of being able to maintain the block for so many years with young players who have arrived… The same year that I arrived, Shermadini or Salin were also there. In the following years, players have been arriving who have a very important role in our team. Being able to continue with this block shows year after year in our game.

Nothing is by chance 12 games later. With this block they are going to fight Real Madrid for the lead. 2-3 months later they are still holding the pulse of the current league champion. What keys do you see for this Sunday’s game?

For us, the key is to keep looking ahead and not on what we’ve done so far. It is very good that we have been first for a few days, but it is useless if we lower our arms and believe that we did something. There are more than 2/3 of the competition left, and we know that entering a negative dynamic can be dangerous. We have to keep stepping hard, training seriously and face each match with the maximum ambition that we can. Madrid is Madrid. It is a team that has many points and a lot of physique. They have a very dominant player in the paint, on both sides, like Tavares. We have to try to play our game, know where they may have a weakness. On a defensive level, against a team like this you have to try to avoid losses and shots that allow them to run. They have that very strong characteristic and very upright players with the ability to score three points in counter-attack situations. We have to try to maintain our game rhythm and make them adapt to our style, and not the other way around.

Seeing him from the outside, it seems impossible to put an expiration date on him as a player. Do you dare?

I think it’s a question of seeing how I feel, of how I’m able to respond to the team’s needs on the track. I don’t want to set a date. I want to continue playing: for now, I have a contract this season and another one. When it’s time to make the decision to move on, or not, the body and the head will say it. Signs will arrive, but at the moment there are no dates.

Soon it will be three years since the death of Kobe Bryant. One of his two seasons with the Lakers coincided with the last of the black mamba. What do you remember about him?

Well… (sighs). I think it affected almost everyone equally. He was a player, a person, a figure who really did what he did and left a huge mark, an impressive legacy for the world of basketball, also with everything he was already doing off the court. What I can say about him, having shared that last season of his, is to highlight his kindness. He was always a very open guy, very close as much as possible. In the games, on a day-to-day basis with me, he always came to talk. Even many times in Spanish or Italian. He had a different head than most American players having lived in Italy when he was young. I prefer the simplicity that was seen in the day-to-day life of the dressing room. When I got there, it’s something that had a huge impact on me. When you arrive and see Kobe… I played a couple of times against him with the Brazil team. Surprisingly, in a way, he knew about international basketball and he knew who I was. That makes you feel special. You could tell these kinds of things in the way he was.

THIS IS HOW THEY ARRIVE


lenovo tenerife

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