Diaw, monsieur Nba: “D’Antoni changed me. I want Mars and the moon …”

The former French basketball player talked about himself at the Sports Festival: “Between the Marines, Kobe and the Spurs”

From our correspondent Gianluca Pasini

Boris Babacar Diaw-Riffiod talked about himself at the Sports Festival. A little bit of France, a little bit of Senegal. A middle mother (one of the best in the transalpine national team) and a father who had done athletics in Africa. A ring with the Spurs, many trophies with his national team, France, and even 14 years of NBA. “It was easy for me to start playing basketball because my mum played. And for me from an early age it was always a game. Until the end.” And it tells and tells itself, at 360 °.

Victory in the under 18 European Championship with France in Croatia.

“Nobody had expectations of us and me, Croatia was perhaps the favorite. In the tournament nobody had expectations and nobody had any pressure. And winning that day was exceptional.”

14 years of Nba with a coffee machine always in the locker room.

“I found them small and I wanted an espresso before playing, so I always carried it with me. I didn’t like what I found, the American, and I had to go and get it from the press room. When I found Ettore Messina he was delighted to have an espresso before a match “.

The draft in 2003 by Atlanta.

“Everyone dreams of one day playing in the NBA. At the time I went it was not so normal that there were Europeans. Being chosen was a lot, but then staying there was really a lot of stuff. It wasn’t easy to stay there after the draft. of Atlanta “.

“He is the one who launched my career. The meeting with Mike D’Antoni is what changed me. The first thing was to think quickly and Mike was able to grasp what were my characteristics of knowing how to adapt to more different roles “.

“Kobe Bryant was the best I played against. It was very difficult to face him. He wanted to win at all costs. His death was very sad news, but I have kept great memories of him.”

The French Marines.
“It was a good thing. I met a person who is part of that marine corps. I found similarities between us sportsmen and them. We all play for the same team, even if their job is much more difficult. It is interesting. understand their skills. It was an incredible week, an experience with them has enriched me a lot. We think of the Navy as an offensive body, but most of the things they do are in defense: of the sea, of the coasts, of people . The unexpected thing for me was the humility of those people, those marines. We tried to make exchanges. “

“I knew the Spurs through Tony Parker. The thing that struck me the most was the culture of winning, led by Popovich. They played to win the ring every year. Incredible. We also called that team the United Nations. The team is there. they were more non-Americans than Americans. The NBA had gone global. All the best players in the world were in the United States. “

“He is two different people. As a coach and as a man. On the pitch, when you make a mistake, he turns red in the face and not beautiful. With an exceptional person, he cares about people. He wants to know.”

In the meantime, a message from Belinelli arrives.

“Great person, I know he has been here in Trento. I am waiting for him to retire to invite him on my boat to have a good time together”.

“Difficult. That success was very difficult. Not only the playoffs, but the whole season, every game, every training session. We stayed focused for two years in a row. And it’s very difficult. Even if we lost one and the second with the arrival of Belinelli. we won “.

“Basketball is a team sport. You have to adapt to others. I try to give the team what it wants. And what I have to do to make the team better. On that occasion, in the final against Miami, Tony was very marked as play. And I became the second play, they marked him and left me a little more free. “

“Meeting the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet was another exceptional meeting. My next trip may be a trip to space, maybe around the moon. Going to Mars? It would be a definite transfer, but I’m ready. I like being an explorer. . I feel it inside “.

“It is important to think about the retreat a little earlier, you do not know what happens and when it happens. Better to be ready. Since the days of San Antonio I have started thinking about it: diving, traveling, boating, exploration, photography are my goals and my hobbies. The boat is the best synthesis to do all this (and in fact he spends 6 months on land and 6 months on his catamaran, ed) “.

“It’s a big part of my career. I’ve had two careers: the NBA and France. The only medal I never won was the Olympic one. I’m happy and proud of the guys who came back from Tokyo (he was a chaperone, ed) with a silver medal “.

“In my future I see my work with the national team and the world of exploration, especially the submarine one”.

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Diaw, monsieur Nba: “D’Antoni changed me. I want Mars and the moon …”

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