I’m just prioritizing London over Turkey
After a few days of soul searching where I had to consider my family, my heart and my head, it’s time to make a decision regarding the World Championship. I’ve always believed that the right thing to do was to tell the coach my decision as soon as I had made one so that he knows which players he has and assemble a team accordingly. That’s why I think it’s time to discuss my future with the National Team.
I've come to the hard conclusion that the best for me and my family right now is for me to not play in the World Championship.
I know some of you might not share my decision or even be angry or disappointed but believe me when I tell you that this was no easy decision. Like I said a few weeks ago in this column, I love playing with my friends of so many years. I enjoy every pick Fabri (Oberto) sets, I'm surprised and ecstatic with every baseline spin Luifa (Scola) makes that you know is going to end with a bucket, every great pass Pablo (Prigioni) makes, every rebound Chapu (Nocioni) gets and all of his hustle, those plays Carlitos (Delfino) makes that just leave you flabbergasted, Paolo's (Quinteros) and Leo's (Gutierrez) 3 pointers, and everything everyone else brings. But this time there was a lot that came into play and I had to think it through.
As you may know, after a couple years of trying, my wife and I are pregnant with twins due in May. I want to be there for those once-in-a-lifetime moments, to be there for my wife and enjoy every minute of this life-changing experience. The other reason, and an important one at that, is that my body can't withstand the toil of playing 3 years in a row for the National Team, without rest and proper training.
What that this all mean? As I said many times before, my experience in the two previous Olympics was the best of my career-and that's including the 3 NBA rings, Euroleague Championship and everything else I've experienced through my 15 year career-and I'm determined to experience it again. I know that the qualifiers are not going to be easy, and that's why my intention is to play them too, especially considering that there's a chance they are going to be held in Argentina. By the way how great it would be to have an official tournament in front of our people after a decade, don't you think? The idea is to secure our berth there and then play my last tournament (quite possibly, you never know!) with all the guys and the blue and white.
After what happened in Beijing, the surgery, the two fractures and that awful 2008-2009 season, it took me a long time to get into game shape and get back to my level. It's been two years since I have a proper preseason: 2008 because of my ankle and the Olympics and 2009 because I was recuperating from the surgery. That why I want to take this off-season to get to my best physical form, have a good 2010-2011 season and then be at my best both physically and mentally to play the qualifiers in 2011 and the Olympics in 2012. I also want to be clear and assure you that the Spurs had nothing to do with my decision and in fact said they didn't have a problem with me playing in 2011 and 2012. (Emphasis mine)
I'm sure that watching the game on TV this summer is going to be extremely hard, that I'm going to want to jump through the screen and that I'm going to really miss that competition. But I thought it through and even though it was a really hard decision to make for sentimental reasons, I think it's fair.
I hope you can understand. I’m not retiring from the National Team. I’m just prioritizing London over turkey and the possibility to experience another Olympic Games from within.
And regardless if I play or not, the heart, the talent and the character of this team is indisputable. It’s been proven in Las Vegas 2007 and in Puerto Rico 2009. If you add Chapu, Fabri and the other guys to those teams, we are ready to fight for a place in the top three, like always. I’ll be watching intently from San Antonio, as their number one fan with Dante and Nicola with their little jerseys on cheering and helping from the distance in any way I can.
So that's my translation. If you find any mistakes don't be afraid to point them out so I can correct them.