Rudy Fernandez at Portland Trailblazers Media Day: (VIDEO)
Basketball fans like Rudy Fernandez. I like Rudy Fernandez. Portland fans generally love Rudy. Rudy likes Portland, too. However, Rudy has clearly stated that “American basketball is……. American basketball.” His contract is up in 2 years, and after that he wants to go back to Spain. I can totally understand that, actually. I mean, he is a top ten guy in Europe just now entering his prime years playing in a league where his style of play is less potent. Don’t think he just wants to be a big fish in a small pond, either. I’ve watched nearly every Blazers game he’s played in, and his style of play just does not jive well with the NBA grind—at least the way the league is being played and officiated now. He is “flashy” by American standards, and he’s a guy that is a legitimately great leaper, a crunch-time scorer that has no fear in closing moments, a fierce competitor at a global level, and he’s an nine-year pro and still just 25. All that while across the planet from his entire family and everything familiar. He’s lucky he landed in Portland, really. There was a large group to greet him when he first landed from Spain in 2008. He was blown away. Portland fans didn’t think it out of the ordinary. The Olympics created a fever pitch about him just weeks before his arrival in the states, and Blazer fans were thrilled about their new-look team.
I digress. I guess I just feel I should point out that he’s not being a dick about this. We all know that reporters are reporters. I watched the raw feed of the interview where he said he wants to go back to playing European basketball, and when I really think about it from his standpoint, I absolutely would too.