By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Barcelona superstar Nikola Mirotic talked about the reasons he decided to sign with Barcelona in offseason and return to Europe following a five-year stint in the NBA.
At 28 years of age, Mirotic was considered able to get a contract worth tens of millions if he opted to remain in the NBA. The Spanish/Montenegrin forward came back to Europe and, as he said, he finds it “very funny” that people say he joined Barcelona for money.
“100 percent. Although I find it very that there are people out there who say I have come to Barcelona for money,” Mirotic said in an interview with Catalan website Sport when asked if basketball is the most important thing for him. “It makes me laugh a lot. To answer the question, I came to Barcelona because, for me, basketball is the top priority, along with my family. If I don’t enjoy it, I don’t have that emotion, that desire to be better day by day. In the end, it doesn’t matter what money they give me if I’m not happy. If I don’t get up every day wanting to go to practice, it’s not worth it.”
Mirotic also mentioned that he wanted to have a more prominent role on a team that is aiming for the top.
“There’s not one single reason but many,” Mirotic said on why he returned to Europe. “The most important ones are family reasons and that I missed Europe. The European style of basketball. I was in an area of, let’s say comfort. And I like to be a better player every day. There [the NBA] I was an important player but everything was about two or three stars. Although you were a starter, it was very difficult to make a jump, be something else. I always wanted to be a leader and fight for more titles.”
Before taking his game to the NBA, Mirotic spent five years playing for Real Madrid, Barcelona’s archrival club. Thus his move to the “Blaugrana” wasn’t received that well by Madrid fans.
“If people [in Madrid] feel better thinking that I have betrayed them, so be it. I also know that there are many people in Madrid who completely understood my decision,” Mirotic said.