An MVP’s tale: Trajan Langdon reflects on career and dreams that came true

23/May/21 13:31 June 8, 2021

Antonis Stroggylakis

23/May/21 13:31
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04: Xxxx of XXXX during the Euroleague Basketball Final Four Awards Ceremony at Palacio De Los Deportes De La Comunidad De Madrid on May 4th, 2008 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Juan Navarro/Euroleague Basketball/Getty Images)

From the basketball beginnings to his rise to EuroLeague stardom, from the 1998 World Cup to the Final Four MVP, from his first experience with Ettore Messina to reaching glory: A chronicle of European basketball history by Trajan Langdon.

By Antonis

One thing that became abundantly clear from the very first moments of my interview with EuroLeague legend Trajan Langdon was that narrating comes as natural to him as his famous shooting that he used to burn defenses to the ground.

Honestly, if I didn’t actually have to ask the questions, I would just sit back, relax and just enjoy him talking. Because this felt like I was listening to an audiobook. That’s how beautifully and eloquently Langdon painted pictures of various stories and anecdote tales from his playing days while reflecting on a career that led to EuroLeague stardom, All-EuroLeague Team selections, several championship titles and a Final Four MVP that was a dream come true.

In a chronicle of important European basketball history, Langdon, now the general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans, looked back at the first taste he got of international competition, joining Ettore Messina at Benetton Treviso, his first Final Four, the glory days and upsets with CSKA Moscow.

He also discussed the lessons that he now uses in his current role as an executive, the opponents that he admired and could’ve been in the NBA and how one of his most prominent teammates “hurt” Team USA and his college coach back in 2006.

Eurohoops: Is there anything that you miss about playing basketball?

Trajan Langdon: It’s funny that you ask. My wife asked me that about three days ago. And my first response was “Not really”. Because first of all, I know my body can’t take it (laughs). I know my body would hurt now.

The thing I miss about is the competition. Testing yourself, challenging yourself game to game. Looking at your opponent. If you think that the opponent is weaker you have to get yourself mentally ready, especially with CSKA. You knew that you’re going to get your opponents’ best game, best focus of the season. If you played against a team that was better than you, you always had CSKA on the jersey so it didn’t really matter that they were more talented.

It was always a target on the back. It was always getting up for the competition of winning on a high level. The challenges. But there was a camaraderie in the locker room with your teammates from day to day. Getting to know people from all around the world from different countries, ethnicities. Those are the things that I miss the most about the game.

The daily work and preparation was enjoyable when I was younger. But the older I got the more difficult ti was so that is definitely something I don’t miss. The work, The treadmill, the weigh room. The court work was easy, it was fun. But the other stuff. The stretching, the yoga.