Andrea Bargnani officially signed with Laboral Kutxa Baskonia, forgoing another season in the NBA. Bargnani was presented at the team press conference on Tuesday.
When asked why he decided to make such a big change in his career by reporters, he gave a simple answer:
“I wanted to be the protagonist of a major project.”
That’s it, in its simplest form. He was looking for a new challenge and took the road less taken. In this case, it’s usually the other way around, working your way to get into the NBA, look for a big payday and possibly even a championship. Not this time:
“Every season is always the most important. You have to play every year as if it’s going to be the last and you have to give all of yourself. Baskonia comes from a very good season, and the goals should always be to maintain your level or improve. Always try to improve.”
When asked about the differences between the NBA and the Euro-leagues, he offered a bit of insight and additional input on why he made the change:
“I know I have an important role within this team, but it’s the team which wins or loses. If there is a reason for which I wanted to return to Europe, it’s the concept of the team. For me the team is the most important. I believe that in modern basketball the ‘4’ and the ‘5’ position are virtually the same. There are differences to which I have to readapt, but during those 10 years I’ve been in the NBA, but I also played with the Italian national team.”
Bargnani values a team system over the favoritism and superstar treatment that happens in the NBA. The media onslaughts, the blame games, and the constant media hot takes seem to have overwhelmed Bargnani.
Now he can be a part of a team again, going to play alongside friend and fellow ex-NBA player Shane Larkin, as well as and Rodrigue Beaubois.