Reigning EuroLeague champion Daniel Hackett of CSKA Moscow is Joe Arlauckas’ latest guest on The Crossover.
Their conversation dives deep into Hackett’s life, starting with his father’s basketball career, as Daniel walks Joe through the steps that took him from his hometown of Pesaro, Italy, to Los Angeles, California and back, then onward to Greece, Germany and Russia, where he became a key piece of a EuroLeague-championship squad.
Hackett played at high school in Los Angeles and then at the University of Southern California before returning home and signing with Benetton Treviso.
He then had stops at Scavolini Pesaro, Montepaschi Siena and Olimpia Milan before heading abroad again to play for Olympiacos Piraeus in Greece, where he faced his greatest obstacle.
In December of 2016, playing a EuroLeague game against UNICS Kazan, Hackett suffered a hamstring tendon rupture and detachment that not only ended his season, but for a time threatened to end his career.
His rehabilitation after a successful operation also presented Hackett with demons.
“After the surgery, there was a period where I went dark. I couldn’t see the light. It was only pool work. It was only training room. I couldn’t see the ball. I couldn’t see the court. I couldn’t run, I could barely walk. I’m like, this is not gonna get better,” Hackett said. “At that point in my career is when I met depression for the first time.”
The injury cost Hackett seven months and he made his EuroLeague comeback under coach Andrea Trinchieri at Brose Bamberg.
Hackett showed everyone that he had put the injury behind him. At the end of the season, CSKA Moscow came calling and Hackett could not have been happier to join the Russian champs.
“It is a blessing to be here now with this club. Most of it has been about the ride, about the journey,” Hackett said. “We were all leaders, as other guys said. We had 15 leaders on last year’s team. And everybody brought a little piece to the table. That’s how you become champions.”