Barcelona’s Juan Carlos Navarro has stated that he has more playing days ahead of him, 15 years since he started his professional career.
The 2011 Eurobasket MVP hit 24 points in his side’s 90-66 Euroleague win over Lietuvos Rytas in a game where he was honoured by the Barcelona faithful for his 15 years at the Catalan club with a year spent in the NBA playing for the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I am very happy,” Navarro said through a translator.
“I started to play in this building 15 years old and this game brought a lot of memories. It has been an exciting week, I was nervous, but in a different way than in 1997. I am happy with the outcome – everything went well and I played well.”
Barca coach Xavi Pascual added: “Navarro played a great game, especially in the second half, with a brilliant moment. It is a great satisfaction and a privilege to have him in the team. We are happy with him and I hope we can keep him in the team for a long time.”
Barcelona are the only unbeaten team in the Euroleague at 7-0 and at 32, Navarro has continued to play a big part in that record and Barca’s overall success. The Euroleague’s all-time leading scorer was Euroleague Final Four MVP back in 2010, the last time the current Liga Endesa champions tasted Euroleague glory.
Navarro has suited up in the NBA during the 2007/08 season, playing for the Memphis Grizzlies where he led the team in three-point percentage coming off the bench, but he left after a season due to homesickness and signed back with Barcelona.
Despite many questions from American journalists during the London 2012 Olympics, Navarro has no desire to play in the NBA ever again.
“I am proud of how I am treated in FC Barcelona and I guess they are happy,” Navarro said. “We have to carry on like this; I still have some playing years ahead of me. It is the key to take care of your body and work hard. I had a difficult year, but keep on working hard.”