By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Four-time EuroLeague champion, member of EuroLeague’s 2010-2020 All-Decade Team, two-time EuroLeague Best Defender, EuroLeague Players Association (ELPA) First Vice President and collector of all sorts of titles and accolades throughout his career.
Or simply… Kyle Hines. The Olimpia Milano star center joined the first Eurohoops Live Show of 2021 for a conversation about such topics as his team’s ambitions in EuroLeague, Ettore Messina’s “Spurs Way” of running things, the ultimate goal he has for ELPA, the difficulties players face in the coronavirus era, his basketball beginnings in a small town with “goats and horses in the streets” and his career-changing moments en route to becoming the winningest American player in EuroLeague.
Milano‘s run in the season so far/areas of improvement:
“We played the top teams and other teams fairly well. We had some big wins, like Bayern on the road and the Istanbul teams or Maccabi. I think we’re still building as a team. We’re still trying and gain where I think we can be. I think we’re in position that for us, the sky is the limit. There are times when you can see our potential. Like the CSKA game or the Barcelona game, where we put together spurts of 25 or 30 minutes of really good basketball. For us, is about trying to extend those periods from 25 minutes to 30 minutes, to eventually a full game and get to that point. Like I said, we’re still growing. This is a new project. Even though they had the team last year, this is a new project with new players. And we’re still getting to know each other.”
“No. 1 is what he’s trying to do: The mentality and culture of the Milano basketball organization. That’s where you can see the biggest difference. He’s trying to bring the ‘Spurs way’ here. Milano has been a team that has fared well but hasn’t been a team at the tops, where they should be. The Top 4 of the EuroLeague or one of the teams that is competing for the title every year. So I think that his biggest thing so far is that he’s changing the culture and changing the mentality of the whole entire organization. He’s a done a great job of that so far. Doing little things to make sure that we have a level of standard that we carry every day and a level of professionalism.”
Biggest goal with the EuroLeague Players’ Association:
“We want to try to make sure that the players’ rights are protected. That the players are in the forefront of conversations of the decision-makers…
You kind of see the strength of the organization even though it’s still in the beginning stages. I don’t think it’s going benefit but also benefit the whole entire EuroLeague and European basketball in general. The overall goal is to protect players and seeing the best brand of basketball possible. If we are able to help the players, we’re able to accomplish this.”
The recent “Thomas Heurtel-gate”:
“When I saw the news on Twitter, I didn’t think it’s true. I though that it’s possibly more exaggerated than what it really was. It shows why the players’ association is needed. Why we need to have this system in place. It’s also shows that the old system is broken. I think it’s time to start a new system, where these type of issues and these type of situation occur no more in the future. As a player, I feel for Thomas, I feel for his teammates and I feel with the organization because it’s not something wants to be associated with in our great game. We don’t want EuroLeague basketball to have that type of negative vibe and attention.
Hopefully something good and positive will come out of it.”
Basketball in the times of coronavirus/Toughest thing players deal with during the pandemic:
“We do have the opportunity to be exposed more because we are traveling. Through airports, cities, hotels. We come face to face with other players. That, dealing with the anxiety and fear of that while you also have the family at home. You don’t want to bring anything back home to your family and loved ones. You don’t want to be a reason your family or a loved one gets sick.”
Most difficult opponents he’s ever faced:
“Bryant Dunston, me and him are cut very much the same. It’s like I’m looking in the mirror. Big Sofo. He’s such a unicorn. Mike James. I grew a bigger respect for him last year. Recently, Edy Tavares… there aren’t many players walking around with his size and abilities.”
Also, Game 4 of the 2012 playoffs when we played Siena in the playoffs (with Olympiacos). I played well, we ended up winning and I think that helped me elevate me and our group to the next level.”