The 33-year-old Argentinian guard Nicolas Laprovittola has made his dreams come true, and through basketball, he considers himself an ambassador for his country and his family, as he talked to Eurohoops about his childhood, career, and the whole basketball journey.
His mother, Margarita Stolbizer, is a lawyer and politician who, in 2015, was a presidential candidate in Argentina, wanted Nico to “study and become a diplomat.
“Politics was always part of the everyday life of my childhood. From the age of five, my mother had an active role in society, and this whole situation was normal for me“, Laprovittola said. “Since I was a teenager, I liked this, as my dream was to live outside Argentina, to get to know the world. The perspective of diplomacy was one way to achieve this. However, I chose to represent my compatriots differently and feel like an ambassador of my country abroad. Basketball became a means to represent Argentina, my mother, my family, and my values.”
Laprovitola’s pursuit of basketball was not easy, growing up in a country that worships a different sport – football.
“All the kids mostly want to play on the grass. But I loved basketball because my idol was Manu Ginobili, not Messi or Maradona. I wanted to follow the example of Manu, his hard work, his lifestyle, and how he had chosen to represent Argentina.”
Argentina unexpectedly didn’t make it to the World Cup, losing to the Dominican Republic in the last game of the Qualifiers.
“It was like a punch in the stomach… I believe that every time you receive such a blow and experience such a big disappointment, it is an opportunity to analyze the situation, find out what happened, and try to stand on your feet again.”
Nico Laprovittola’s journey had many destinations, often unexpected, such as Flamengo and Brazil. After starting his professional career in Lanus at 17, he played in Lithuania for Rytas, in the NBA for the Spurs, and in Russia for Zenit. At the same time, his route includes five stops in Spain with Estudiantes, Baskonia, Joventut, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.
“My childhood dream was to live in Europe and learn its culture. Every place I lived made me open-minded and broadened my thinking and knowledge. I’ve always tried to be curious, to have questions, and to be interested in learning about the cities I compete in,” Nico said. “The NBA is not an unfinished dream because the experience at the Spurs, coached by Gregg Popovich, was fantastic! It changed my life and helped develop my career, but America might not have been for me. Maybe it didn’t suit my style of play, my body type, and now I’m happy in Europe.”
The Argentinian also spoke about his experience working with Sarunas Jasikevicius and Pablo Laso.
“Saras has both differences and similarities with Pablo Lasso. Most importantly, they both demand 100% from their players and are perfectionists. They are coaches you have to get to know and understand. Understand how they want to play and prepare for each match.”
He also commented on this season in the EuroLeague.
“Every match is proof, as it happens in the Euroleague. Last year we considered it crucial to winning an absolute home advantage. However, this year may not be so important, as the tournament is “closed” and competitive, and the home advantage may not offer anything,” Nicolas Laprovittola concluded.