CSKA legend discusses his life and career with Kyle Hines
When two legendary CSKA Moscow players and multiple-time EuroLeague champions meet, there is plenty to talk about. Eavesdrop as Trajan Langdon visits with Kyle Hines and discusses his childhood in Alaska, his basketball playing career, retirement and life as a basketball executive.
The Kyle Zone is part of Euroleague Basketball Podcasts, joining The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas to let fans go in-depth with the protagonists of Europe's top pro basketball competition. The Kyle Zone is broadcast on iTunes, Audioboom, Spotify, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn and other platforms.
"There were a lot of expectations and some pressure," Langdon said of the 2005-06 season, his first with CSKA, in which the team ended a 35-year drought to win the EuroLeague. "It was basically chip on our shoulder, us against the world, nobody believed in us and that's what drove us the rest of the year."
"I remember how much emotion came out when we finally won. One, because nobody believed we were going to win," Langdon went on. "Personally I had lost in a [NCAA] national championship game in '99, which I had never forgotten. Then I had a chance to get to a EuroLeague title game again in '03 with Benetton that we lost to Barcelona, so I had two times where I hadn't finished. So for me now to finish it and accomplish something and be a champion, just a lot of emotion came out."
A three-time All-EuroLeague selection and the MVP of the 2008 Final Four, Langdon has many great stories from his six seasons with CSKA and nine altogether in the EuroLeague. It was a tough decision when he decided to retire, one that he explained to Hines in their chat as well as what would come next.
"I spent some time talking to people in other industries and I realized if I go to another industry, I'm going be starting from the ground floor and I'm going to be starting in something that I know nothing about," Langdon said. "And how long am I going to have to train myself at 35 years old, competing against people doing the same thing who are 21 or 22. Or I can stay in basketball at age 35 or 36, having done way more than people ever will be able to do, and I can bring that knowledge to whatever place or organization I'm at."
Langdon also shares a message for young American players coming to play in Europe for the first time:
"Befriend your teammates. Spend time learning the culture, learning the language. I would have never seen the places I saw playing if I wouldn't have played in Europe. And I tell people, I played nine seasons in Europe and wouldn't have traded that to stay in the NBA. No way in the world," Langdon said. "Who knows how many years you'll be able to play. Who knows wherever you're playing if you would ever have got a chance to meet those people, learn that culture, eat that food. I would say basketball is one thing, but life is another. These are experiences you'll treasure for the rest of your life."