“It will be very difficult for us to stop Lorenzo” Sergio Rodriguez exclusive interview ahead of Real & Maccabi

Jan 5, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

There is no question that one of the most decorated European basketball players of all-time is Real Madrid’s Sergio Rodriguez. With a pair of Euroleague titles with both Madrid back in 2015 and CSKA Moscow in 2019, his stellar career has also included Gold Medals at the FIBA World Cup back in 2006 as well as the 2015 Eurobasket to go along with individual awards galore.

The 36-year old guard who began his career at Estudiantes and spent six seasons at Real Madrid between 2010-2016, played for four teams in the NBA before returning to Europe where he featured for CSKA and Olimpia Milano just before making his long awaited comeback to Real this season.

Sergio Rodriguez – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net


As Rodriguez heads towards the twilight of his career, The Sports Rabbi had the honor and privilege to look back together with the guard at some of his finest moments as a professional just ahead of the latest installment of the Maccabi Tel Aviv and Real Madrid rivalry on Friday night. From why he decided to head back to the Euroleague after his best season in the NBA, what it’s like playing together with a pair of other legends day in and day out as well as his thoughts about Lorenzo Brown and how he feels about coming full circle back to Real Madrid.

“I am very happy to be here again. I feel I have had a very lucky career since I have been able to be in different places and now my return to Real Madrid is a big challenge for me. I am really focused on the challenges and goals of the season.”  

Sergio Rodriguez – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net


With such a decorated career and so many accomplishments, Rodriguez had some great moments to choose from as he mentioned those that were at the top of his list, “I have many. I have been very lucky not just as a club level but also with the national team. I have won a lot of medals, I have had a lot of opportunities to be at the top with my country and also with my clubs: Real Madrid, CSKA, Milano, and even at the very beginning with Estudiantes. I think the biggest accomplishment at the club level has been winning the Euroleague twice and being able to lift different trophies in different countries.”

While Rodriguez was an integral part of the Spanish National Team for close to two decades, Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Lorenzo Brown came on board this summer and helped guide La Roja to a Gold Medal at the Eurobasket in Germany. On Friday night the “Old Guard” will tipoff against the “New Guard” so to speak.

Lorenzo Brown – Photo Credit: FIBA

 
“Lorenzo Brown is having a very good season. Last year at UNICS he showed everyone what he was capable to do. Then, he played an amazing Eurobasket as we all watched and I am so happy Spain made it to finally win it. Therefore, I think Friday’s game will be a tough one for us. It will be very difficult for us to stop Lorenzo but we will try to constrain his game somehow, to make him feel uncomfortable on the court. I think that may be one of the keys of the game.  

Rodriguez was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 27th overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, but was quickly traded to the Trailblazers where he made his debut in the world’s greatest league. After three seasons in Portland, Rodriguez was shipped to the Sacramento Kings where he spent part of the 2009-10 season before being flipped again as he headed to the New York Knicks.

Sergio Rodriguez – Photo Credit: NBA.com


After finishing off the season, Rodriguez returned to Spain to play with perennial powerhouse Real Madrid where he would win his first Euroleague championship. However, Rodriguez still had some unfinished business in North America and returned to the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers but after arguably his best campaign outside of Europe, he made a surprising move and made his way back to the Euroleague and joined CSKA Moscow in 2017.

“There were some circumstances which made me do what I did. At that moment I felt I needed a longer-term project not just for me but also for my family. Once I finished my season with Philadelphia I felt CSKA was the biggest challenge for me because it gave me the chance to compete in a different country and in club as big as CSKA is. I decided to go there and it was worth it because I won the Euroleague, one of the biggest accomplishments of my career, and I had a great time there.”

Rudy Fernandez – Photo Credit: Real Madrid Basket


Now at Real, Rodriguez has joined forced once again with both legendary Spanish and Real Madrid players in Rudy Fernandez and Sergio llull. In fact, Rodriguez also played in Portland with Fernandez as the trio have been a part of much success at both the club and national team level.
 
“We have been able to compete together at the highest level for many years and we have done that creating a good atmosphere among us. That has been a great experience but now we all are focused on the goals we have ahead as we always did. That is the most important thing for the three of us right now.”

Sergio Rodriguez – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

 
When it comes down to the person or people who have been most influential in his career, Rodriguez didn’t look too far from home, “From the beginning my parents, my brother and my wife are the most influential people in my career I have around and also several coaches and players I have had the pleasure to play with. So I feel very lucky.”

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