Sorry about any translation mistake. I´m still learning English :(
I guess your first shock was to arrive to the airport of Minneapolis and see a lot of fans waiting for you.
Well, I have to tell you the truth. I was going to travel wearing a jogging suit, because it´s most confortable, but when I was ready to go my American agent called me and told me "dress you up a little bit because you may find some media and fans waiting for you at the airport." So I change my clothes. And when I got there ... I was very surprised. I was thinking there could be about 50 people and when I saw that I thought "WOW, what is this, what embarrassment!, what am I doing here" .
And there were many young people...
Yes, very excited and wishing to watch me playing in Minnesota. That´s very encouraging and gives me confidence that I took the right decision leaving for Minnesota, because it was a very difficult decision considering how well I was treated by Barcelona. Joan Creus and Xavi Pascual treat players like people and not like currency or something.
The following shock was your presentation press conference…
Well, I had a meeting with some team partners previously, people who seat on the first rows. The press conference impressed me, because there were a lot of media. I was a little nervous, only because I don´t have a very good command of English. I can understand and speak, but I´m not at Pau´s English level, he speaks English almost as well as Spanish.
Do you know your jersey could be bought at the team´s website only a few minutes after it was announced that you are going to play in Minnesota?
After the press conference I was interviewing with some media individually and when I finished they told me “I´ve already bought your jersey over the internet”. I couldn´t understand anything. I had told them that I was going to make public that I´d leave (Barcelona), but I could never imagine they were so much effective. They have control on everything there, as you can see in such little thing.
So you agree the NBA is another world …
When I went into the locker-room and the first things I watched were a kitchen, a room with Xbox, Playstation, couches … You think, ¿Am I into the pavilion or into my apartment?
You already are a popular person in Minnesota…
Yes, people recognize me in the streets. I don´t think they have watched me playing so much. There were promotional panels with my picture, because they had a 9 dollars ticket promotional offer.
Have you had time to visit the town?
Not much, because I was five days doing interviews and publicity. I´ve seen a pair of apartments, where I could live, and a school for my sister Laia. Some other things too, as the Skyway, but I guess will be different in the winter. For sure I´ll appreciate more El Masnou beach.
Will your family go with you?
Well, we are still thinking about it, because we don´t even know when the NBA is going to start. Our idea is to go with my mother and sister if this season starts as usual. My father has to work here and will visit us when he can. My brother can´t go because he plays basketball here, and our idea is that a couple of friends will go too.
You have already practiced with teammates. ¿What impression did they make on you?
Great, what struck me more was their talent. Perhaps it is an individual talent, and there I ´ll try to provide my experience in Euro basketball, because perhaps the idea of team basketball is worked more in Europe, but if we assemble all that talent we can have a really great team. Someone is a little bit crazy, but I have never played at a professional level with people with so much talent and so young. The philosophy will be run and enjoy basketball (“run and fun”?). I think we missed that against Panathinaikos. We were not allowed to enjoy basketball and were very obsessed by other things (Probably he means his coach tried to make them play too much organized basketball instead of letting them be themselves and get advantage of their strengths).
Do you have any goal on the horizon, individually and collectively?
Yes, of course, you can´t avoid that. I would like to win many games, to play the rookies-sophomores games… but it´s hard to say now, because our team is not finished yet. Long term, what everybody wants: get a ring, have a nice career, be considered among the best. My role model is Pau (Gasol), because he went to the NBA after he had played well, having got titles in Europe and played several years not making noise until he got two rings in a row. His career and what he has achieved are, for me, a dream.