Turkish Airlines EuroLeague
Adidas Next Generation Tournament
EUROLEAGUE FANTASY CHALLENGE
David Blu, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
May 12, 2014
After a year away from the game, David Blu returned to Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv for a fourth stint and has been a key factor in the club’s march to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Before he heads to Milan for the next challenge, Blu took time to serve as Euroleague.net's guest for a Final Four edition of Fan Mail. The 10-year Euroleague veteran is in his seventh season with the yellow-and-blue squad, with whom he has enjoyed tremendous success. He won a Euroleague title exactly a decade ago, but under his original last name Bluthenthal. In the meantime, he shortened his name, and for trivia fanatics, he could become the first player to win a Euroleague title under two different names. Blu, one of the top three-point shooters in competition history, gives Maccabi a reliable scoring option off the bench. He raised his game to another level in the playoff series against EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, hitting 3 triples in each of the last two games of the series, helping Maccabi punch a ticket to the 2014 Final Four. The lone Maccabi player remaining from that 2004 team, Blu enters his fourth Final Four having made at least 1 three-pointer in 21 consecutive games. Blu fielded questions from fans around the globe and was honored to be involved in Fan Mail. Before answering any of the selected questions, Blu said: “Thank you all for your interest and support for me. It is such an honor to be heading back to the Final Four and have the opportunity to win another championship.”
What's the most memorable moment in your European basketball career? Thanks and Yalla Maccabi.
Yair Zaretski, Israel
“Winning the championship in 2004 is my greatest memory as a professional. The bond I formed with my teammates at that time will always be strong. It was especially great to with in Tel Aviv and experience the love and support from the fans and the country. Winning a championship is something that takes a lot of sacrifice and an honor that can never be taken away.”
Hello David. I remember watching you in Le Mans. What did you do last year? Why did you come back to Maccabi and not to Le Mans?
“Last year I took a sabbatical and returned to my old school, the University of Southern California, and took three classes during the fall and spring semesters. I graduated May 17, 2013 with a degree in Sociology. Along with going back to school, I had the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family members that I had not been in touch with for over 10 years. I enjoyed a full round of American holidays with the people that are the closest to me and learned to appreciate life outside of the basketball world a lot more.
“I choose Maccabi because it made most sense for me to go to a team and city that I am most comfortable with, especially after not playing for 16 months. Maccabi is very close to my heart and one of the best organizations in Europe. I am extremely thankful that the club and the fans welcomed me back with open arms.”
I'm really a huge fan of Maccabi and of yours, of course. I would like to ask if you will play with Maccabi for another year or you are going to retire?
“I have not yet decided about next year. I am focused on finishing this year healthy and enjoying every minute of playing the game that I love. I will make a decision about my future this summer.”
David, congratulations on getting to the Final Four. Which teammates from your past teams do you remain good friends with?
“From my professional career, I am still good friends with Derrick Sharp and Maceo Baston from Maccabi, and Dan Gay with whom I played at Fortitudo Bologna. I am also still friends with some of my old college teammates from USC.”
Is it strange to have Nikola Vujcic on your bench as a team manager, after playing with him on the same team before?
“It’s been very cool to have Nikola next to me on the bench during this season. He is doing a great job managing the team and helping out on the court when needed. Niko and I really enjoy talking about being teammates in the past and when we won the championship in 2004. Every day when I come to work and see him I wish he was still out there playing alongside me. He was one of the best players I have played with and an even better person.”
Since you played for Coach Messina earlier in your career, can you tell us a funny story about him?
“That was so long ago... I can't recall too many ‘funny’ stories about Coach Messina. The main thing I remember about him was his honesty. Sometimes it wasn't the kindest of opinions, but it made me tougher as a professional athlete and as a man.”
Do you have any rituals before each game? Like listening to the same songs, or eating the same food, or wearing same socks?
“Before games I like to watch YouTube videos about great players from the past for inspiration. The main videos I watch are Scottie Pippen defensive videos and Larry Bird greatest moment videos. I also like to watch Dennis Rodman and Ray Allen videos. My other rituals are to do breathing exercises and a lot of visualization techniques when I'm in the locker room getting ready for the game. Also, I usually get my right ankle taped first.”
What is a part of your game that you practiced the most when you were younger, and what is it that you focus on the most now?
“Shooting is and was always my favorite part of the game. I had a hoop in my driveway and spent hours outside shooting. All of my family members took turns rebounding for me throughout my childhood. At my age now, recovery is the most important thing that I practice. I focus on taking care of my body by doing a lot of stretching, strengthening, resting and eating healthy. I am almost 34 and thankful to still be able to play and managing my aches and pains is what I spend most of my time focusing on.”
What is your best trick shot when you play H-O-R-S-E?
“I like the half-court shot or really deep three pointers. Most people don't feel as comfortable shooting from that distance so it’s good for H-O-R-S-E competition. My other specialty shot is placing my feet at a 90 degree angle along the corner where the sideline and baseline connect. It’s an awkward way to position your feet and difficult angle to make a basket.”