The game I’ve been waiting for is just around the corner, but first I want to sum up the first game of this “Euro Classic” between my team and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Thursday. Maccabi is a great team traditionally and a great sparring partner for us on this trip as we get ready for our season, which is just around the corner. The game in Chicago was a tough game for us, especially in the first quarter. We fell behind by 18, but the bench did a great job to get us back in it. Even though Maccabi won in the end, we can take a lot of positives out of this first game.
At this stage in our season, this is a great game for us. Maccabi is a great team and to be able to play them, have two days to review the game and then to be able to play them again makes it into a great learning experience. I look forward to learning from these games. The result isn’t as important as the experience is.
Now we head to my hometown, New York, New York, for the next game on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. It’s always great to play there. I’ve had the chance to play in the Garden six times before; once in high school, four times in college and once when I was in the NBA. Unfortunately, my record there is just 2-4, but hopefully we can improve on that on Sunday.
I will definitely have a lot of family and friends on hand for the game. I can’t even guess how many it will be in the end. I am still getting texts and requests for tickets all the time! It’s always special to get to play in front of family and close ones. For me, it helps to give me some extra motivation. Family is an important part of life. For me, the opportunity to play basketball in Milan is a blessing, but it’s still great to be able to come home and play again in New York.
It’s beneficial for me. This is a great opportunity for me. And I also think playing these games in Chicago and New York is a great way for people to see European basketball. It’s great for my family and friends to see what a Euroleague game is like. And for basketball fans in America to see something else, something different. Especially for kids in America, who only know about the NBA.
Since we have a lot of our schedule set in advance on this trip, we don’t have so much free time. I wish we had more, because I would have liked to be able to take some of my teammates around and to show them more of New York. Maybe I’ll have a chance to take some of them to Times Square and to walk around, but not much more than that.
I want to again express my gratitude to everyone that helped make this trip happen. For me to be able to play with my teammates at Madison Square Garden in front of so many friends and family members is really special. I hope to see a lot of you there on Sunday. And many others next week when we return to Milan and play the Boston Celtics later in the week!