Mario Hezonja: “It is a great feeling to play in the NBA London Game”

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 5: Mario Hezonja #8 of the New York Knicks handles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans during a pre-season game on October 5, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

New York Knicks forward, Mario Hezonja, talked about the 2019 NBA London Game, Juan Carlos Navarro and his friend, Tomas Satoransky.

Here is what the Croatian sharpshooter said:

On playing a game in Europe in the upcoming season: “It’s going to be my second time. I already played in London my rookie year. It is a unique feeling because not only a lot of British people came but a lot of people from back home – Serbia, Spain, France. A lot of people will be there.

It’s good to embrace them all and see everybody together and see that the NBA is in Europe. It’s a definitely a great thing for them to say this is the level we want to get to, so they don’t stop. So that means they want to get better, they want to improve, and they want to see how everything works in the NBA. So it’s definitely a great thing for the NBA and European basketball.”

On whether initiatives as the NBA London Game helps increasing the awareness of the league among European fans: “Definitely. People want to come to see it. Everybody benefits from that. There should be more games like that.”

On facing his former teammate in Barcelona, Tomas Satoransky, in the 2019 London Game: Tomas is a great friend of mine and he was a great teammate at Barcelona. I talk to him a lot. He is a very good player.

We started in Barcelona together on the same team and this is the second or third year we’re playing against each other in the NBA. So it’s definitely special for both of us.”

On Juan Carlos Navarro’s retirement: If he’s not the best European League and Spanish player of all time, I don’t know who is. I’m so thankful for everything he’s done for me. Practicing with him when I was 15 until I was 19.

It was just unreal. I don’t know whether he’s a better person or player. He’s an absolute legend and I am thankful personally for everything he did for me and what he did for our club at Barcelona. Just a legend. That’s the one word I can use to describe him. A legend.”

The 2019 NBA London Game will see the New York Knicks face the Washington Wizards on January 17, 2019 at the O2 Arena.

*Tickets for the NBA London Game 2019 will go on general sale Friday, Oct. 19 at 9 a.m. BST at www.axs.com/nbalondon. Fans can register their details at NBA.com/London to gain early access to a limited number of tickets via a presale to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. BST.