A quick check on Paul Pierce, who spent three days with the Boys and Girls of the Bancaja campus in Madrid. Of note, Pierce touched on his Olympic snub, the roster for next season, and possibly playing with the Celtics for five more years.
The following is the full transcript from Spanish to English on El Mundo Deportivo:
Q: You are from Los Angeles and you have always been a Lakers follower. Have your family and friends forgiven you for stealing the NBA title from them?
A: Yes, haha. They have forgiven me and I also forgive them for continuing to be Lakers fans (he starts laughing again).
Q: Was it special to beat the Spanish star Pau Gasolís Lakers?
Yes, it was a final that generated lots of interest in my country and in many other places because of the historic rivalry between the two teams. For me it was special and I enjoyed it that much more being from there. Gasol is a fantastic player, I donít understand why he is criticized; I think that without his contribution the Lakers would not have made it to the Finals.
Q: Celtics fans have suffered a lot these last few years. Does this title signal the end of this black period?
A: I hope so, at least for as long as I am on the team. I will play there for the next five years and I hope to win each year, or at least as much as possible.
Q: The team has lost Posey and renewed House and Tony Allen. Which Celtics will we see next season?
A: I think we have a great team and that we will continue being the favorites. We have played well this year and we are all looking forward to going out and winning again. We will have to wait to complete the line-up, Posey has left but the rest of the players are still here.
Q: Being the current champions, will it mean more pressure or will it give you an advantage over other teams?
A: We are the champions and everyone else knows it. It will be more difficult to repeat and we will have to work harder to achieve it because although we want to repeat, everyone else wants to defe at us. But, of course I think we will repeat and win next year. I think the Lakers, San Antonio, Utah and a few others will be there, but we are the champions.
Q: During the last few years, the general notion is that there is a higher level of play in the Western Conference than in the Eastern Conference, of which the Celtics are a part.
A: I think the East is undoubtedly improving; it has upped its level of play. The teams keep getting better in the East and our victory shows that. I think next year there will be more of a balance between East and West.
Q: The Celtics seem like the only franchise that resists taking a chance on European players.
A: That is not an easy question for me: I am only a player; I am not the general manager. Itís true that Dino Radja has played well in Boston and that there are many European players playing well in the NBA. I canít decide, I can only go out on the court and play as best as I can. If I had to choose a European for my team, I would pick Calderon. He is one of the best guards in the NBA as he has proven this season.
Q: Portlandís coach said that European players do not know how to defend, do you agree?
A: Well, itís not a question of knowing how to defend, in the NBA you play differently than in Europe and you have to adapt. Many of them know how to score well but it takes them more effort to learn how to defend. Do they have more of a team mentality? Yeah, I think they do.
Q: Why arenít you on your countryís Olympic team? It seems like they donít trust you after your poor performance in 2002 at the FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis.
A: I wasnít selected, they have to select you and they didnít. If they donít like me I canít do anything. Besides, I needed to rest and it doesnít matter; I am enjoying my vacation and my family. Iíll follow the tournament because I enjoy the competition of the Games.
Q: Is the US favored or, looking at their past international performances, are there other teams on their level?
A: It seems to me that we have a good team and I think that we are the favorites for the gold medal. This is the year that we will win again, but I know that it will not be easy because of Spain, Russia, GreeceÖ