Over the summer, Boris Diaw was interviewed by French sports news behemoth L'Equipe. Thanks to Olivier Friker, our special foreign correspondent, we have a translation of the revealing conversation in which Bobo answered a number of questions around the theme of "The Day."
THE DAY you delivered a perfect game.
- There is no perfect game. Once, with the junior French national team, during a tournament in Mannheim
(Germany), we played the US in quarter-finals. Tony was absent, I scored 30. We lost by one. A good
performance... individual performance!
THE DAY of your first "Marseillaise" (French National Anthem).
- Junior European championship, in Zadar. Moving. They didn't play it before the podium. I didn't make
believe and I didn't sing along then. Nowadays, I do sing.
THE DAY you first heard about the NBA.
- Saying I was born with a basketball in my hands sounds cliché, but it's exactly that. My mother [Elisabeth
Diaw-Riffiod, generally accepted as the greatest post player of her generation] was a fan of Julius Erving. I was still in the cradle when she took me to her training sessions and games in Mont-de-Marsan.
THE DAY you made her the proudest.
- Last year, when we won the European championship. I know because she had never said it before.
THE DAY you joined Spurs.
- A turning point. I left Charlotte in March 2012, in good terms, I gave up some of my salary to sign in a
club where I'd have a chance to contend for a title. I crashed on Tony's couch for 6 months until my contract
THE DAY you understood that not all NBA coaches are good.
- My second season (2004-2005). You quickly figured out that not only players can be rookies... Mike
Woodson was in his first year. He had won a title as an assistant in Detroit and he wanted to implement with
a young team what had worked with veterans. In 2008 in Phoenix, Terry Porter who had taken over after
Mike D'Antoni, turned everything around while we were the best offense in the league. I was shocked.
What makes a good coach is his ability to adapt to the players on the roster and to sign players that fit his
plans. Which Popovich does to perfection with the Spurs.
THE DAY they called you 3D.
- I was wearing number 3, in Phoenix. So when I started to score triple-doubles in 2005-2006, the local TV
commentator found that nickname for me. US took a bit notice of me then.
THE DAY you doubted yourself.
- My second year in Atlanta, when I would not play for stretches. You wonder how you can become useful.
Otherwise, every year, there's a time when you feel like you can't play, you dribble the ball on your feet...
But philosophically doubting myself? No, I don't regret any choice. Instead, regularly, you are in bus, in a
plane, and you think "man, you live the good life."
THE DAY you lost the NBA finals?
- Game 6 in the 2013 finals against Miami, we're ahead by 5 points, 20 seconds from the final buzzer. An
accumulation of details lead to a loss. This year (2014), we preferred not to fiddle with them and we stayed
at +20 at all time (laughter).
It was fuel for the following season. And probably for the rest of my career too. A loss is an eye-opener. Just
like when we (France) lost against Greece in semi-finals of Euro 2005.
THE DAY you won the NBA finals ?
- The most important day of my career so far, with the European title in the blue jersey. I can't say which
THE DAY you'd like to re-live.
- The first (title). Zadar (Croatia), Junior European championship title in 2000, together with my buddies
(among them: Mike Pietrus, Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf). That victory was different. And it was long
ago, whereas the NBA title is still fresh in my mind.
THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY aside from basketball.
- My first safari, 2004 or 2005 in South Africa. You disconnect from everything else, you stop getting
worked up. It changes your philosophy of life. You're in the middle of nowhere, facing the animal kingdom,
and you think that you're insignificant, that life is superficial, that this planet is not ours. I'm going to make
a book for kids with my photographs, with safari stories. It will be edited by National Geographic and will
be called Chapters.
THE DAY you ate too much during a meal.
- (Boris thinks...) Every other meal? (laughter). When I get back to Bordeaux in summer... I always have
a vacation time when I'm really off. I always liked to cook, but I'm a Southwest-of-France cook: Olive oil,
duck gizzards, foie gras, Squids... Not very diet-friendly. Last year, after undergoing surgery in my back,
just before the playoffs, I really had to be careful. I hired a chef. It made my life much easier and all went
well. So I kept him.
THE DAY you'll be a father.
- (He smiles.) I already have two dogs who fill in pretty well with affection. Never say never, but that
isn't something I'm sensitive to today. Same feelings about marriage.
THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY of your career still to come.
- The day I will stop. When? I have no clue today. I just hope it'll be natural, not because of an injury.