Things didn't quite work out for Sergio Rodriguez during his time in the NBA and even though he's thriving once again overseas, he doesn't necessarily sound intent on trying his hand here in the states again, writes Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. "I'm 27 with nine years as a pro player already. Everything goes very fast and I want to enjoy it," said the former Blazers guard. "I'm happy in Madrid and have two years left on my contract and the potential to win everything here or at least be in the mix. That's all I think about." Here's more from Sierra's chat with the guard who was once thought to be the future face of Portland's franchise..
Was there one moment where you lost confidence in your abilities as a player?
There have not been extended periods when I lost confidence. Of course I had down times, but not long ones. At the end of the day, I'm lucky because basketball is also my favorite hobby. There's been moments when I didn't feel too good, some during my time in the NBA or my first year in Real Madrid… But I knew things would look up eventually because I was putting in the work.
How did you feel upon your return to Europe from the NBA?
Looking back, (the NBA experience) wasn't that bad. I played 300 games, I had a blast and lived a dream… and I ended up in New York – starting for the Knicks. When I decided to return to Europe, it was Real Madrid no less, which was a big deal to me. I was going to be able to play at the Euroleague, shoot for championships and deal with the extreme pressure that comes with having to win all the time. When I left the NBA, I felt kind of empowered by the fact that I was joining Real Madrid.
Which of your three NBA stops (Portland, Sacramento, New York) was the most fun?
The three of them! I had a good time in each of the three. Of course, Portland has a bit of an advantage because it was three years there and it was kind of a family and the stars of the team were growing together at the same time. Then Sacramento was good too. Practices were very enjoyable and it was close to San Francisco. Besides, Sacramento fans are knowledgeable about basketball and one of my references as a player – Jason Williams – had played there with the Webber-led Kings, which were one of my favorite teams of all time. Then you had New York… Playing there with Tracy McGrady and in that city was a very positive experience. Maybe the timing of my arrival was not the best, though.
Knowing what you know now, would you still go to the NBA at age 20?
Yes, no doubt. My dream was to play in the NBA and I made it real and enjoyed it very much. There's a lot of players in the States fighting to be in that position, but with me it was, 'Meh, he's not playing much'. But in reality I feel fortunate that I had the career I had in the NBA. It could have been better, but it wasn't bad. Plus it helped me grow as a player. I wouldn't change anything.