Born and raised in Tunisia, Real Madrid’s Salah Mejri looks to be the first player from his country to not only play in the Euroleague Final Four, but to win Europe’s top club basketball prize.
The 27-year-old center though understands that the team comes first and that winning the title for Real comes first.
“It is not me alone who wins the Euroleague, but it is the whole team, I am part of this team, and winning the title will be a great success,” Mejri said. “It will be very important for our fans across the world to see me and the team winning”.
Mejri has come a long way to be at his final destination of Milan today. He made his first appearance in Europe back in 2010 when Antwerp Giants from Belgium signed him for 2 years and when his contract expired, he became part of Obradoiro.
That season he won the ACB Rising Star Award and as a result, Real Madrid made their move to make the 2.17cm tall center, their own.
The Tunisian stated that Real Madrid is “the best team this moment in Europe” at the moment, setting high expectations for the competition. He also mentioned that “for this team, winning the Euroleague is not something new”, putting more emphasis on the club’s glorious past.
The Real Madrid player was also part of the Tunisian national side, and in 2011 he was crowned MVP of the FIBA Africa Championship, which built their platform for a debut appearance at the 2012 London Olympics.Tunisia made it to the London Olympic Games, and despite their 0-5 record in group play, Mejri was the player with most blocks (17), despite playing only those five games.
Did the Olympics raise basketball awareness back home?
“[It] is very important since the basketball fans in Tunisia are getting more and more every day,” he said. “I can tell that because I receive many messages on social media supporting me and telling me that there are even more Real Madrid fans out there, and people are happy with what I am doing.”
Mejri mentioned that even the Prime Minister called after the Game 5 win over Olympiacos, to congratulate him, and support him.
Mejri is also having a good season in the Liga Endesa, he plays an average of 11.8 minutes per game and in that average statistic, hits 5.3 points. In Euroleague he leads the competition in blocks per 40 minutes with an impressive 4.7 a game.
The big man though isn’t getting bored of playing another ‘el Clasico either.
“Barcelona played great basketball in Spain and Europe for years, but I think now it is the time for Real,” he said. This season we got the [Copa del Rey], we [have] dominated the league, now we are going to play to the Final Four too, it will be a difficult game for sure between the two best teams in the country, but the winner will deserve it, since winning this game needs a lot of hard work.”