Fernando Está Aquí

The whirling winds are finally dying down for a moment. First, three basketball games in three days at three different cities. Then, the dunk contest.

Now weariness is catching up with me; even at parties, I'm lacking freshness.

But I wish to acknowledge the many ideas given to me for dunking. Among them was this image from Victor Vicente Garcia Querol. He suggested a tribute to pop star Rodolfo Chikilicuatre: A dunk with dance moves!
(If you are not familiar with Rodolfo, be viewing the following.)

Also, honoring Fernando Martín (mar-TEEN) with my retro "10" jersey was a source of pride. Martín joined the Portland Trail Blazers in 1986 as the pioneering Spaniard in the NBA. Fernando also played for Real Madrid, from 1981-1986 and 1987-89. Martín got a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics with the Spanish National Team.

Martín returned to Spain before his tragic death in twenty years ago. Honoring my countryman was my honor as well. Highlights of Martín's follow.

As stated, I am a George Karl appreciator. (He puts me in mind of the knife-fighting fisherman of Majorca!) Karl was coaching Real Madrid the year that Fernando Martín died. This 2001 article explains what Karl saw:
Martín hadn't only been the best Spanish player ever. He was also a charismatic figure. "He was like James Dean," Karl recalls. The next evening the body was placed in the arena, and the fans trooped by, late into the night, viewing it...

Real Madrid had a game... At the arena Martín's jersey was draped over his chair. Roses were everywhere. Near the top of the stands... sat the dead man's mother, weeping. Martín's kid brother, Antonio, another player on the team, showed up minutes before tip-off and tearfully assured Karl that he was ready to play. Real Madrid—coach and players and fans [were] shivering with sorrow. The team played abysmally.

Early in the second half, Real Madrid trailed by 19 points. Suddenly Karl's players came alive...In seven minutes they turned the game around... from 19 down to 19 up. Real Madrid coasted from there.

Señora Martín was waving from on high, like Evita from the balcony at the Casa Rosada. In unison the stands cried, "Fernando está aquí." Fernando is here. When the buzzer sounded, Karl collapsed in his seat as the players dashed through the crowd to embrace their dead teammate's mother. "Fernando está aquí. Fernando está aquí." Karl cried. "It was an incredible moment," he says. "There has been nothing like it in my life except the births of my children."

He is sitting in his [Milwaukee] office... Peering out, he seems instead to be looking back to that court in Madrid. Listening. "Fernando está aquí" Karl says softly, shaking his head, marveling at the memory.
A last thing: I played with Fernando's son, Jan, who now plays for the Illescas LEB Oro. (He is a year older than me.) I have his father's jersey with me in Portland and I would like to send it to his family to have this memory of mine.


  1. Rudy you seem like a great young man. While many of us over here in the USA might not have understood your tribute until the TNT announcers finally quit making stupid jokes. I thought what you did was awesome, from the tribute to the dunks. You should be proud of yourself. You are a great ambassador of the game Rudy. Keep it up, because while not all appreciate what you are doing, there are a lot of us who do. Thank you.

  2. I am not a Blazer fan, but I can appreciate and respect you paying tribute to your countryman. Many fans of the game did not understand your gesture, and indeed, neither did I until just today. Now that I understand the situation, I have great respect for you, as a player, a person, and a Spaniard. Best of luck to you in your career.

  3. Thank you Rudy for you fabulous dunks this past weekend. The city of Portland is proud of the way you represented our Blazers! Your dunks were fantastic and deserved more credit than they received, but unfortunately the outcome seemed pre-determined. Your tribute to your fellow countryman was a great touch, and it's cool that he to was a Blazer. Portland loves exciting and passionate players and you fill that role perfectly. Rudy you have a style all your own, and it's like art in motion! Keep up the great work, I know Portland appreciates it.

  4. Great job in the contest, Rudy! You represented Portland (and Fernando) well. Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to TNT:

    "The behavior of the broadcasters during the All-Star slam dunk competition was embarrassing, not only to Kenny Smith and the rest of the crew, but to me as a fan of the NBA. I realize that the type of "clowning" that was taking place is somewhat par for the course with the NBA culture, but the ignorance that was displayed on Saturday made me ashamed to be watching. I used to like Kenny and Charles, but now I'm hoping that they can be replaced. I know that there are plenty of other ex-players who can be equally humorous and "tell it like it is", but do so with class and intelligence. I won't be tuning in to see them until an apology is issued for the disgraceful way they disrespected one of the pioneers in international basketball whose life was tragically cut short in a car accident.

    p.s. Charles's apologies are beginning to lose their impact. Maybe you need to hire someone who doesn't need to issue an apology for their behavior every year."

    Portland loves you, Rudy!

  5. Hola Rudy. Me llamo Javier y no se si llegarás a leer este correo algún dia, pero necesito un favor. Un amigo mío, gran fan de Fernando Martín, colecciona camisetas de todos los españoles que están y han estado en la NBA. Por más que busco sitios de internet, no encuentro la posibilidad de comprar una camiseta de Portland como la que luciste de Fernando Martin. ¿Podrías ayudarme a conseguirla? Mi correo es javil1984@hotmail.com
    Muchas gracias de antemano.

  6. Hola Javier,
    Esto no es realmente sitio web de Rudy. Se trata de un oficial, sitio Web falso. Si bien es respetuoso con Rudy, tampoco es grave. Así que por desgracia, aquí nadie te puede ayudar! Pero lo mejor de suerte en su búsqueda.


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