¡Me ayudan a decidir!

There is truth to the words that a contest is being held for dunking notions. This was the idea of my friend, Quique Peinado. My encouragement to submit your brainstorms for the slam dunk event. These ideas can be written in English or Spanish. Or make the videotape of the dunk notion.

Or just draw it.

Yes, I will be the judge of the winner. ¡Buena suerte!

This is a time of prodigious actions of the busy. Yesterday, I was relayed news that Greg Oden and myself will take part in the Rookie game. (Marc Gasol will also be on our team.)

Our coach, Nate McMillan, could see the confusion in my face upon the reception of this. I am in the rookie game? This contradicts my professional playing since teenaged years!

He hastened to me and explained, “Everyone knows you’re not wet behind the ears like the usual rookie." To make the confirmation, I ran a finger behind my ear. It was dry. I nodded in counterfeit understanding and then was distracted by Sergio. He was dribbling three balls at once! Crazy.

Being a Rookie Player is a welcome honorific, but now I have undertaken some concerns. I am in the dunking contest AND partaking in a game. More longterm, I am alone among my mates in having played on an Olympic team this summer. (I do not mention this around Sergio.)

I have morbid imaginings: If my energy is drained to an extent, I can not put my best foot forward. (My left foot is still sore, so my right foot is my best.) I can feel it as a sapping of my confidence. What if I make an unwelcome dunk gaffe?

It is fortunate that I have role modeling for the dunking. This gives me the focus. I must remain resolute as my brain storms on new twists for the contest. I have already had suggestions!


Iberian Charms

Many assume that one American aspect I must adjust to is female referees. Not so! We have a 5% female referee amount in FIBA. Many of these officials are German and Russian. This works to the advantage of my Spanish mates and myself. There has yet to be born the Teutonic maiden who can withstand Iberian charms.

But with consternation, I have noted this is not the case here. Por ejemplo, Violet Palmer is one of the NBA referees. She is excellent! I enjoy her fearlessness and lack of fear. But there was a foul called by Ms. Palmer on me against the Clippers that was most unfair. When I made my pleading to her, she said, “C’mon now, that’s weak sauce.”

My sauce is weak? When Sergio discovered this exchange, his laughter was of great duration.

Male or female, a challenge in my face is that referees believe all Europeans are acting out high drama on court. This is stereotyping. It is true that if I am hit, I jerk back as if an assassin shot me from the upper deck. But that is just good basketball.

Another act of stereotyping is that Europeans' outlooks on the genders may be more sexist than Americans. This may have some of the truth in it. Notice the logo for FIBA's women basketball teams. It smacks of the cheesecake.


I Like George Karl

Slapping hands with friendly fans (especially as we visit other arenas!) is a matter of surprise for me. Let me explain to you. As many know, my team in Spain was DKV Joventut.

When I played with my Joventut mates, here is what happened as we left the court: Police clad in gear for riots escorted us into tunnels. These tunnels were wheeled out to cover us from the fans as we went to the locker room. Would they yell unpleasant things? . Would they throw something at us? Perhaps!

They did this for us at home. And away. Away can be scary in Europe. You have seen European soccer fans?

The Joventut gym in Badalona is not the best. I was smiling at the description from Das Bloggy Blog concerning the lack of alcohol available there. But be trusting, to not give Spanish fans options of inebriation is wise. They are excitable enough as it is.

I won the 2006 FIBA EuroCup championships with Joventut. For the Lakers fans, they might know that Coby Karl has just signed with my former Spanish group. I do not know Coby, but I like his padre, George of the Denver Nuggets. He reminds of the fishermen who would get in knife fights on Majorca.

I am a little homesick now.


The Born Identity

The Scout Leader for the Blazers is a man named Mike Born. He did the search for a helpful international player, and found me. In this interview here, Born is uncovering that in 2002, a consultant working for the Blazers witnessed my game. 

I was 17. The consultant liked my court actions, even though I took no 3-point shots. Now that is a recollection from long ago!

One thing I am not used to yet is the NBA 3-point line. The international line is 20'6" from the basket, and that is what I knew. But in the NBA it is 23'9". This is a long distance for heaving the ball. The game this evening against the Washington Wizards reinforced the difficulty.

I was 1 for 7 in my 3-point accuracies. Mierda!

A confusion for me in the interview is Born’s reference to my “high BBIQ.” I like that it is high, but it is something unknown. Sergio thinks it might be a reference to my outdoor cooking skills. This seems less than realistic.


The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly from Vanilla Sky's Tears

As is known, Joe Alexander will not exist at the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest. He is a talented rim-swinger, but there were not enough votes. Here the Buck talks about that:
"It just sucks because I put together some pretty cool dunks."
Perhaps Alexander can use these special dunks at his private dunk party? After all, it will be his party, and he can be crying and dunking if he wants to.

Are you in the know that "Vanilla Sky" is Joe Alexander's nickname? I hope that Sergio Rodriguez never gets traded, but if he ended up on the Milwaukee Bucks, then Spanish Chocolate could play with Vanilla Sky.

And if both Joel Pryzbilla and Sergio got traded, and then Darryl Dawkins and Jason Williams came out of retirement, the line-up could be:
  • Vanilla Gorilla (Joel)
  • Spanish Chocolate (Sergio)
  • Vanilla Sky (Alexander)
  • Chocolate Thunder (Dawkins)
  • White Chocolate (Williams)
This could be of interest.


Hardwood Anthology

Many requests for dunk samples have come my way. So I direct the people to a collection of my clips to give notions of my dunk stylings. Below is my favorite of these. It is an anthology of my Spanish National Team and European league highlights. The sequence at 2:00 in is an especially warm remembrance.

Looking at this helps me concoct new dunking ideas. But there are other excellent competitions as well. I am thinking: Why not come up with an All Star game of C-A-B-A-L-L-O? George Gervin and Polish star Pete Maravich have shown the way in the past.

Kill the King?

We played the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. Now the nicknaming of LeBron James as “the King” is sensible to me. He is royalty on the court. His talent is from another realm, and the referees are respecting it, politely making no calls against him.

Nicolas Batum is our best defender. He had the King. Before the game, Batum was confiding, “I just have to play and think he is just another player with two arms and two legs.”

Batum's limb count was accurate. But LeBron had 34 points, 14 assists, and 7 rebounds anyway.

We lost.

Musing on the King from the bench, I said, “The only way to stop him is to kill him.”

Greg Oden heard me and replied, “Would you kill him in his bed? Thrust a dagger through his head? I would not, could not, kill the King. I could not do that evil thing.”

Then Oden laughed really loud. Understanding him is not always the easiest.


Full Court Press Conference

The reporters came to me for a conference. This is a full court press conference, yes? The picture will take you to the linkage. One question that was asked was whether I am more of a dunker or three-point shooter. This is a good thought. Perhaps if I am lucky again next year, I can do both contests at the All Star Weekend.

Another thing that has been asked is whether I have been slam dunking in competitions before. The answer is yes. Four years ago, I was in a European dunking contest. I came in second. (Michael Gelabale took the first place.)

In this article, I share how I will create a good slam, while not serving specifics. And my sorrows to Joe Alexander, who is planning his own private dunk contest at his home. It is invitation only. And only he is invited.


I Dunked. You Decided

There is much attention coming my way for the dunk contest. I am believing that much of this is because I am the first international dunker to take place in the Slam Dunk competition. Brandon Roy and I will try to invent something good, but it will be a secret for now.

I am honored, and most graciously thank the fans who helped me to the top. I am told that the tallies were of this nature:
  1. Rudy Fernandez: 251,868 votes,
  2. Russell Westbrook: 147,279
  3. Joe Alexander: 114,963
In the contest, I am not a front-runner. So it is not beyond me that one of the other two rookies would have been better candidates for the dunking. I am not seeing many examples of Joe Alexander, but Russell Westbrook was shot like a projectile the other night.


The Dunking

I got into the dunk contest! It will become officially a press notice tomorrow.

First, I am thanking the fans who voted for me to take part in the All Star dunk contest on February 14. You know that engaging in the weekend is a childhood dream for me.

Second, I am unbelieving that I will take part instead of Russell Westbrook and Joe Alexander. The latter one can touch his nose on the rim. That is jumping springs! And Dime Mag likes Russell Westbrook and has asked for a recount. I am not disagreeing.

But I am in and will give it my best. I wanted Sergio to help me in this contest by throwing me passes, but he has said he will be vacationing instead. For this injustice, I am running a picture of him with a headband on. This is revenge.

Most luckily, my mate Brandon Roy should be at this weekend on the All Star team. If that is so, he has stated he will help me with the passing.

Now it is time for me to work on some dunks. My competition will be fierce!



In one of Portland's free newspapers this week is a Blazers article. It is clear this is not a subject the writers at this publication usually address. There is a story on each of my mates, and there is also a picture of a player’s imagined sports card.

Joel Pryzbilla has the best card. (The writer calls him "Vanilla Gorilla, Albino Godzilla, and Ashen Chinchilla.")

There is also a card for Sergio. The article is not kind to him.

"If turnovers could talk, they'd speak Spanish and play like Rodríguez. It's hard to tell if Sergio is the future of the franchise, trade bait, or... I'm sorry. I got distracted when Rodríguez turned the ball over again. What was I saying?"

Dismissing Sergio is not pleasing to me. He is an excellent ballhandler and has the same sweater as me. Speaking of me, here is part of my entry.

"Spanish sensation that the Blazers acquired on draft night two years ago, Rudy Fernández has developed into a crowd favorite despite a shot selection that ranges from wild to bat***********crazy."

I asked Joel Pryzbilla to translate "bat***********crazy." He just gave a soft smile of muted gratification and said not to worry about it. Our big men are muy enigmatic.


Ropa Caballo

I am Spanish. This does not prove I have style. But as I sit on the sidelines and wait for my left foot to feel better, I wear a stylish suit. This is my fashion.

I have noticed that some players in the NBA take a less serious approach to appearances. On the Trail Blazers, Steve Blake lacks the cosmopolitan presence. But he is not the worst-dressed that I have seen.



Here is the shot of Andres Nocioni trying to block my breakaway in our recent game against Chicago. As you can see, he is not that close. Afterwards, we both came down in heaps. In my heap, I found that I had aggravated my sore left foot. (Upon reflecting, I think I did this pushing off on the foot as I jumped, not on Nocioni's foul.)


Highlight Reel

This is a song set to videos. I'm not sure I understand all the words of the song: "The elevation... like a spaceman... suddenly I'm a fan of immigration."

Along the lining of slam dunks, Russell Westbrook is one of the three rookies who are up for jumping in the Slam Dunk contest. I did not see him play last year so this UCLA springing is news to me. He is an incredible athlete.

Oh, injury update: I have a left mid-foot sprain. 

My Favorite Player

I know that in the previous post, Taylor was a little rude to Kobe Bryant. That's okay, she is only one year old. In this interview, I go on the record on who my favorite NBA player is: Kobe.

Unfortunately, I am a little rude in my video too. My English was more broken at that time. It has been repaired a good deal since. But when LaMarcus Aldridge teases me about it, I get gruff with him.


"Can you say 'Rudy'?"

I think I just got a cavity, this is so sweet. Taylor can say, "Rudy." She's also close on Pryzbilla, nails Sergio, gets excited about Ike Diogu, and doesn't seem to like Kobe Bryant mucho.


"Vote for me! ¡Vótame!"

There has been much discussion in Spain about the campaign of fans for my participation in the All Star Weekend. Many radio stations, newspapers and viewers have spoken about that and my friends tell me that the fans in the online forums also discussed it.

For those who do not know, this season fans can vote in the Slam Dunk competition by choosing one of the four participants. There are currently three fixed contestants: Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson, and Rudy Gay. The fourth contestant will be from a group of three rookies, and I am one of them. (The other two are from Russell Westbrook from the Thunder and Joe Alexander of the Bucks.)

The truth is that these athletes are incredible and I must say, I am not the ideal player for this. But if chosen, I will take it very seriously. Although the competition is incredible ... Oh, by the way, you have to vote to go to NBA.com/ dunk to vote.

There are many promotional videos for this circulating on the Internet. In my case, many things were recorded and only a little bit was chosen... As you can see from these outtakes in the video above, I was asked to act relaxed and not take the video very seriously. And I did improvise a song with a guitar. (I assure you that was not my idea.)

Besides the contest, I also have options to be chosen for the match against the rookies in a second-year players, which, of course, I would very excited to be part of. I have followed since childhood the weekend's All Star game, and to participate would be a dream fulfilled.

Addition: We played the Warriors yesterday. I had a good game. The photo is from the contest.
Original post here.


Yo Estoy Bobbleheaded

In Spain, I had heard of the American tradition of bobbleheads. As I understand it, the idea of making a plastic replica of a person with an oversized head on a spring is a very high honor.

Sergio laughed when he saw my bobblehead. (He thinks the jaw is much too big.) As Sergio continued to tease me, I asked to see his bobblehead. At this, he turned away and turned on the karaoke machine. Am I the only European the Trail Blazers have made a bobblehead of?

It turns out this is not the case. Later, Sergio retrieved his bobblehead of yesteryear from the mothballs. Look; he resembles Lance Armstrong in a Blazers outfit!

In additions, a reader tells me the Blazers made a bobblehead of Arvydas Sabonis. He is European.


Greg Oden Goes Backward Like a Crab

Since first being in Portland, I have noticed an oddness. Greg Oden was more anxious in his demeanor at the start of the season. Today, he is more youthful. When I asked him about this, Greg said, "One day you'll be as old as I am, if you go backward like a crab!"

Then he laughed really hard.


Don't Kick Rudy

We had a tough win against the Pistons last night. Travis Outlaw and Jerryd Bayless both had big games. My game was medium-sized. At one stage I was looking at the crowd, and I saw a confusing sign: "Kick Booty, Rudy!"

We play in basketball in sneakers. Why a "booty"? Do they wish to kick me away from the squad? Addendum: I have a sore left foot. Do I need a protective booty?

I was 5-10 from the field (and 3-3 from Three Point Land) against Detroit. Also, I played good defense, and took a rebound away from a Piston at the end so that Travis Outlaw could win the game. He is a clutch shooter from Mississippi. (I have no notion of where that is. This is a big country.)


Gratis Throws

Right now I am shooting the free throws at 89%. I was doing better earlier this year; I am in need of getting back to my rhythm. If you watch me, I barely look at the basket before shooting it.

This is very different from another very excellent free throw shooter named Steve Nash. I have not beat his goal yet, though you can see an Australian has tied it. More trying is required.


Alley Oops and Points on Your Face

The magazine known as Dime has an article detailing the alley-oop experts of the NBA. The top pair listed is Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. Yes, I will also claim they are talented. But for Garnett to alley oop is not much of a stretch... he is almost 7' tall!

Myself and Sergio Rodgriguez are the next listed pair in the article, and this pleases us. I am barely 6'5" and 185 pounds, but when we have that unspoken thing, I will put it down. You see what I mean?

In news of a less positive tone, my mate Brandon Roy is still out, and we had to play the Lakers recently for the second time this year. For the second time, they crushed us. This saddens me. We have two more chances at them in Portland. In an article earlier in the season, I was asked who I most wanted to play against in the NBA. My answer then is the same as now.

"Pau [Gasol]. I've never played against him, only on the same team. I want to put points on your face."


Jose Brought Us Ham!

I would like to start the blog this week wishing a happy 2009 to all readers. This year has many challenges for me, and I hope for you too. It is a pleasure to share them with you. As you know, I had the good fortune of being able to spend the New Year with my family here in Portland. Although I miss Badalona and Mallorca (and my dog Max), it has been nice to celebrate the holidays in a new city.

On the 27th, the Toronto Raptors visited, and my friend Jose Calderon. The day before the match, Sergio and I went to dinner with him and we had very good time. Jose has extensive experience in the league and is a very important player, it is always useful to listen to those who have more experience. And beyond that, almost anything better: he brought us ham! He has a contact in Spain, and now that we know that, we will always ask.

At the the end of the year we received the visit of the best team in the league: the Celtics. My partner Brandon Roy was injured and left me to begin a game for the first time in the NBA. I was not very successful, but I played many minutes and, most importantly, contributed to the victory in the final minutes. It's not easy beating a team like the Celtics, a team with many talents of intimidation. We got up and won without our best scorer. Against the Hornets, we could not win, which leaves us with a balance of three victories in the last six games ... we must restore victory on a regular basis.
Original post here.