Final Four club legend: Juan Carlos Navarro, FC Barcelona

May 18, 2021 by Print
Final Four club legend: Juan Carlos Navarro, FC Barcelona

Juan Carlos Navarro's physique may not have struck fear in his opponents, but his ability to score at any moment with an array of weapons - including his trademarked shot – "La Bomba" - turned him into a legend with FC Barcelona as well as a two-time EuroLeague champion.

A native of the Catalonian town Sant Feliu de Llobregat, just a few kilometers due west of Barcelona, Navarro made his professional debut in 1997 at 17 years of age. Before really making his mark at Barcelona, he helped Spain win the FIBA U18 European Championship in 1998 and the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup the following year alongside Pau Gasol. The latter came after Navarro captured his first of eight Spanish League titles in 1999 as well as the 1999 Korac Cup. The first of his seven Spanish Cups came in 2001. And then came the magical 2002-03 season in which Barcelona won the triple: the Spanish League and Spanish Cup titles as well as the club’s first-ever EuroLeague trophy.

After being named to the All-EuroLeague First Team in 2006 and 2007, Navarro left for the United States and the NBA to join his close friend Gasol at the Memphis Grizzlies. He returned after a single season overseas to his beloved Barcelona in 2008 at age 28 was at his best. Navarro was the EuroLeague MVP in 2009 and then added a second EuroLeague crown in 2010 as the Final Four MVP. He was named to the All-EuroLeague First Team for the fifth time in 2011. In total, Navarro played at eight EuroLeague Final Fours. He also had great success with the Spanish national team, with which he won silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games as well as the gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2006. Among his six medals at the EuroBasket are gold medals from 2009 and 2011.

Navarro finished his career as the EuroLeague's career leading scorer, though he has since been passed by Vassilis Spanoulis. He remains the EuroLeague leader in three-pointers made and ranks fourth in games played and accumulated index rating. Navarro retired in 2018 and remains active at the club with Barcelona's youth teams. Navarro is one of only two players named to the EuroLeague All-Decade Teams for 2000-2010 and 2010-2020 and remains a Barcelona legend who will never be forgotten.