By Antonis Stroggylakis/ AStroggylakis@eurohoops.net
Before he became a basketball player with decorated stints first in college with Louisville and then as a pro in Europe, Alba Berlin guard Peyton Siva had to endure, and ultimately overcome, a difficult and troubled childhood while growing up seeing family and friends getting caught up with gangs and drugs.
One day, he actually saved his father’s life by preventing him from committing suicide.
Siva conquered numerous adversities that could lead to a destructive path, by taking an alternative route and choosing to focus on sports, basketball in particular. His whole story is an inspiring tale, one that the 30-year-old player also sees as potential beacon of hope for others.
“If I can help someone out with whatever, then great,” Siva told Eurohoops.”For what I went through, I made it this far. I’m not saying that I went through the worst possible. There are players and people who’ve been through worst. I’m always here to help out whoever, wherever I can. Some of the things I went through in my past, I feel like God put me through them to help others in the future. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m a lot stronger from everything I’ve been through. My family are a lot stronger from everything they’ve been through. We live and we learn. And all we can do is move forward and move past all the trauma that we’ve been through when we were younger and all the mistakes that we made. Pushing forward and being forgiving.”
Siva joined the latest edition of Eurohoops Live Show to not only discuss about what took place in his past of course, but mainly his present with Alba. After joining the team in 2016, he emerged as an elite guard in EuroCup, took his game to the next level in EuroLeague and last season helped the German side win the 2020 BBL championship.
Now, Siva hopes to see himself continuing with Alba long term.
“It would be great if I could come back with Alba,” Siva, whose current contract with the team runs until the end of the current season, said. “I’ve really enjoying playing here. I’ve been here five years. Obviously, it would be great to come back and play for Alba. For American players to stick with a team for so long it’s very rare. So, it’s cool to have that trust of the management. We’ll see at the end of the year but like I said my goal is to play with Alba and continue to compete with them but it’s a business at the end of the day.”
“Whatever happens happens, I can’t take away any hard feelings but for me, in my heart, hopefully I can stick around with Alba,” Siva added.
In a discussion that went for over 40 minutes, Siva discussed Alba’s current run in EuroLeague, what he learned from his COVID-19 experience, the joy he feels to play under Aito Reneses, Rick Pitino, how college basketball prepared him from EuroLeague, one of his most famous tweets, his… beard goals and many more.
Here are some of the things Siva also said on:
How he dealt with contracting COVID-19:
“You’re scared. You don’t really know what will happen. You see everything on news about people passing away from COVID-19 and you just don’t know. You could be one of the statistics. For me was difficult also because my family was with me, my wife and my two daughters. My wife got sick also and my daughters had fever but that finished quickly so that was good. It was tough because you had to fight through it and have parental duties, that was the toughest part.
Then, I kept testing positive over time. Even when I start felling better, I couldn’t join my teammates in practice. That was another step of the whole process.
I want to tell people about my experience. Even though I’m an athlete and I’m healthy and I don’t have any medical history problem with breathing or anything, it still affected me. For people out there not wearing the masks and living their lives trying to be normal… it’s not normal times. There are so many unknown things about and that’s the scary part. Hopefully with the vaccine will go get back to normal.
If I didn’t have my family with me, it would’ve been tougher on my mental side. Being alone and quarantined and staring at the walls. Luckily, we have a sports psychiatrist on our team and when we were all going through it we had zoom calls and discussing about it. It was a chance to talk and express our concerns.”
“I’ve improved a lot playing without the ball in my hand under Aito. He likes to play a free style of basketball where everybody has touches, everybody moves freely and to read and react to the game. That’s been a big improvement for myself: learning to move without the ball, learning how to read defenses and see the game in a different light. It’s a fun style of basketball, very free. A great system that I’m enjoy playing under him.
It’s good to bring that joy back in the game, kind of like when you are a little kid
He shows up every day in practice with the same energy and passion of the game. And that’s where our team follows him. See a guy at his age who is so well accomplished to come with that same spirit and passion for the game of basketball. He tries to go out there and run full speeds and shows drills and we’re “take it easy coach, take it easy. It’s really refreshing to see.
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball