By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
After an impressive season with the Blazers, Nicolas Batum is eager for the upcoming Eurobasket. The talented French forward and his teammates are one of the main favorites to win the gold in Slovenia and challenge Spain’s dominance. And despite the saying “beware of Greeks”, he was ready to speak to Eurohoops just after he had landed in Slovenia with the valuable help of French federation press officer Fabrice Canet.
- You are one of the most loyal European NBA players to the calls of your national team. Can you explain us your passion for this team?
“My passion for this team is because I play for the national team since I was 14 years old. So I start winning really early, every time I got there I got good memories, it’s an honor to play for your country, so it’s just normal to”.
- How inspiring is to have a leader like Tony Parker?
“Tony is one of the top five players in the world right now, top two in the NBA, so to have him play like that is a great joy for me and for the team too, he is been there forever almost in the national team and it’s great to play with him”.
- You are a team that has a lot of NBA players. This is an advantage or a problem, when you are trying to adapt your style to the basketball played in European championships?
“We have all played basketball in Europe, so this is not a problem. It’s not like we have been playing in a US high school or college before the NBA. Of course, we have to adjust a little bit comparing to what we did in the NBA, so everything starts from there, but we are ok”.
- Is there a fraternity of French players, specially those playing in the States? We have the impression that most of you have very close relationships.
“Of course. We speak French with each other in the States, there is a lot of people from France now in the NBA. That makes us feel really close and we have this kind of relationships”.
- Do you think that participating in a tournament like Eurobasket helps you develop us a player and is that understood by your team, the Blazers?
“They let me play, since I got there. The previous coach I got was a member of Team USA stuff (Nate McMillan), so he knew the FIBA game, and my current coach (Terry Stotts) played for most of his career in Europe. So he knows that every time I play for the national team, it will be great for me. I never had a problem with it”.
- Has the time come for the French NT to get the gold?
“Maybe right now. We will try to do it now”
- The front line absences of your team can be replaced?
“We miss a lot of big guys, but our front line is doing a pretty good job, so I think they will surprise everybody and we go with it”.
– Which teams do you consider the most dangerous opponents?
“Not because you are Greeks, but I think Greece is the most dangerous team right now in this tournament”.
- What can we expect from you, after a great season in the NBA where you shined as an all around forward?
“I will try to do the same thing, shine also in this tournament as I did during the season and try to win a medal for my country”.