Jordan Loyd decided to bring his talents to Europe for the second time in his career, after winning the 2019 NBA title with the Toronto Raptors. Despite playing only 12 games with the champs, the 26-year-old combo guard, celebrated the title as a legitimate member of the squad.
In this interview with TalkBasket.net, Loyd explains how he came up with the idea of the “Random guy in a suit” T-shirt that he wore during the championship’s parade and shares his opinion on playing in the NBA and the EuroLeague. The former Raptors 905 star had 12 points on 4/7 from the field, but couldn’t help his new team, Valencia Basket, avoid a 89-63 blowout defeat to Olympiacos Piraeus at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. The Spanish side are 0-2 in the new EuroLeague season, which proves the need to get the best out of players like Loyd and Colom in order to have a successful year.
Q: Jordan, things did not go as planned for Valencia Basket against Olympiacos. How did you experience the game?
A: I try to be positive. It was a good experience as far as being able to travel, come to Athens and play in a historic place like this. I have always looked forward to playing here and it’s something I can check off my bucket list. As far as the game, it was obviously pretty frustrating. We didn’t play with a lot of heart, didn’t play hard. Everything starts with our heart and determination. We just got to come out and not give the people too much respect. I think we came here playing timid instead of just playing really, really hard. Obviously, we can talk about X’s and O’s all day, but it’s all on us. I think we beat ourselves today. We’ll start over, looking at some things, but we should never be too high or too low.
Q: How was your experience in the NBA? You played 12 games, but you can call yourself NBA champion.
A: Yes, only 12 games, but it was a good year for me. Just to be a part of that team and be able to sit on the bench and be around those guys on a historic cue was pretty cool.
Q: The T-shirt with the inscription “Random guy in a suit” that you wore in the championship’s parade whose idea was it?
A: I saw something on “Sports Centre” after the shot and the news anchor was like “You got Kawhi, you got Embiid and some random guy in a suit”. So, I kind of ran with it. A bit disrespectful obviously, but I decided to make a joke out of it and have some fun. It worked because that’s what I’m known for in Toronto. Obviously, I think I’m more than that.
Q: Is it true that the Raptors used you in order to emulate their toughest match-ups on the scouting team?
A: Yes, they did. We were doing stuff like Steph Curry and players like that. It was pretty cool. We were trying to emulate their offence and style of play.
Q: Two of your ex-teammates on the Raptors 905 squad, Lorenzo Brown and Wade Baldwin, are also playing in Europe. You got to face the latter tonight. What do you think of them?
A: Lorenzo is someone I’ve known from high school. Great guys and great, high level players. They deserve much respect.
Q: Did you expect to find them in Europe this season?
A: No, I didn’t. Me and Wade didn’t really expect it to play out like that. It’s still nice to see him here.
Q: How did you decide to play in Europe for the second time in your career?
A: I always want to move forward. I was supposed to be on another two-way contract and I decided that I want to play in the EuroLeague, really high-level basketball. You get your game out there and that was my mentality.
Q: Were you tired of the G-League?
A: Not at all. The G-League is the reason I am where I am. I will never say I was tired of it. But you always look for other things, to move up, move forward and that was my decision. Nothing against the Raptors, the G-League or anybody else.
Q: What do you think of the EuroLeague?
A: It’s great. It’s a step below the NBA, but it’s right there with it. It’s a totally different game in the NBA and big adjustments need to be made.
Q: In which respect?
A: As far as the physicality, there’s no defensive three seconds, the lanes clog … things like that.
Q: Do you feel vindicated for your choice to get out of your deal with Darussafaka in the summer of 2018?
A: Yes, I wanted to go to Toronto and I’m glad I did that. I’m happy for my decision.
Q: What do you cherish the most from your NBA experience, apart from winning the title?
A: Just being around of Hall of Famers and being a sponge, learning from guys like Kawhi and Kyle Lowry. I developed better work habits on and off the court. That stuff is timeless. It’s going to stick with me forever.
Q: What do you aspire to in Europe?
A: I only care about winning games, taking my game to the next level and having fun. I’m not looking forward to anything else.
Q: You got to play also against Vassilis Spanoulis. He’s a legend in Europe. Did you get info on him?
A: I knew about him. I watched a lot of EuroLeague games growing up in the last few years, since I became a pro. So, I’ve seen him and he’s a great player. Much respect to him.