By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
When we tried to decide which interview will be more intriguing about the start of Euroleague, the answer was really easy. You have a veteran, who returned to one of the most decorated teams in European basketball history after the worst season of his career and now has once again the chance to shine.
After all Mike Batiste had a shining smile during Panathinaikos’ media day, feeling right at home on the white armchair of OAKA and he was ready to speak about anything. That means himself, the Greens, Fener, Obradovic, Milan and failure which can be the greatest motivation.
- How does it feel to be back home?
“It feels good man! I am happy to be here, I am glad I come back. We have a good team and hopefully I can fit in and help out in every way so the team can have some success”.
- There is something different, you have now to fit in…
“Trust me, I think I have already fitted in,taking over the big brother role. Is easy to get along with the guys here, it’s easy for guys to get along with me. We have very good personalities on the team and if you have a situation like that, good things are always going to happen. So we laugh a lot, we joke a lot, but once we go to the court we are really focused and really serious”.
- Are you already thinking about Milan?
“Not now. I have a lot of experience and if you thing about stuff, you will suffer from this. So you have to take it day by day and live in the moment. It starts from practice and you have to take it game by game. If you are looking ahead than the game that you have before, you are going to suffer from it and I have learned that a lot”.
- You are smiling because you are in Athens, but I have to take you one year back, in Istanbul. Last year’s Fenerbahce was a failed experiment, so what advice you have for Zeljko Obradovic?
“Man, that’s tough. I mean… Do your ultimate best, like he is always done for every team that he coached. Hopefully the players will buy into his system and I hope nothing but the best for him”.
- Last year it was easy for you play against Panathinaikos, because you are loved in Athens and you didn’t have Obradovic as an opponent. Have you thought about meeting him as an opponent?
“No, not yet, but if that moment comes, I am going to have to do what I have to do and help my team win, regardless if there is a coach on the other end that we have a deep love for. We are all competitors, players and coaches. I want to beat him and for sure he would want to beat us. It’s a game, we are competitors and that’s how it is for forty minutes. If that happens (smiles), you know, it happens. But I am not thinking about this right now. We have some very difficult games ahead of us, we play Olympiacos for the championship and we also have a difficult first round group in Euroleague, so right now my mind is elsewhere”.
- Do you thing that you have to redeem yourself? Do you have to prove yourself after last season?
“Not really. There are always stuff to prove, not because I failed last year. I had a lot of failures, even here in Panathinaikos. We didn’t win every year every three titles, or titles that we were supposed to take, so I felt that many times before in my life. So what’s you do? You just dust it off, try again and you hope that this season will be better than last season”.
- So are we going to see a fairy tale ending?
“We will see man. I can’t predict anything. I am just trying to take it one day at the time. Like I said it starts from practice, I am a very hard worker, I pride myself on working hard and the way you work is the way you play. So if you work hard, you play hard. Hopefully, by doing that, other guys will follow in and we will take off on the start of the season”.