A former all-Euroleague superstar returns to the competition with the announcement on Thursday that world champion Juan Carlos Navarro is going home to F.C. Barcelona with a long-term contract. Navarro (192, 28) arrives from Memphis of the NBA, where in his first season outside Europe he was named to the league's All-Rookie second team. "La Bomba" had previously played 10 seasons with Barcelona, turning pro in 1997 at age 17 and helping the club win its only Euroleague title in 2003. He also won gold medals with the Spanish national team at the 2006 World Championships and 1999 Junior World Championships, where he was named MVP. Barcelona and Navarro signed a five-year contract on Thursday, the club announced.
During Navarro's time in Barcelona, he became one of the top scorers in Euroleague Basketball history. Despite a season away, Navarro is sixth all-time in scoring (1,824 points), three-pointers made (247) and three-pointers attempted (611). He averaged double figures in points in his last seven seasons at Barcelona and his best individual campaign was the last one, when he posted 16.8 points and 3 assists over 22 games. Among his many individual accolades, Navarro was named an All-Euroleague first-team selection in both 2006 and 2007 and the 2005-06 Euroleague January MVP.
He helped Barcelona to four Spanish League championships and three Spanish King's Cups – including doubles in 2001 and 2003 – as well as the 1999 Korac Cup. In addition to helping the Spanish national team win the 2006 World Championship, Navarro won silver medals at both the 2003 and 2007 EuroBasket championships and bronze medals at the 2001 and 2005 EuroBaskets. He also played at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
Navarro's lone season away from Barcelona was successful on an individual level. His 156 three-pointers made for Memphis saw him come within 2 of the all-time NBA rookie record and were also the second-best total in Memphis’s franchise history. Navarro was one of only two Memphis players to take part in every game, finishing the season with 10.9 points, which was fourth on his club and third among all NBA rookies. He was fourth both on his club and among all rookies in assists with 2.2 per game and the team leader and second among rookies in free-throw shooting at 84.9%.