The forward Rudy Fernández Real Madrid player who went through NBA American between 2008 and 2012, recalled this Sunday in a forum the importance of Fernando Martín, the first Spaniard to play in the North American league, who opened that competition to those who saw it as "almost unattainable".
« I think it opened up not only to players like me, but to players who at that time saw the NBA as almost unattainable . A Spanish player, from a country so tiny compared to the United States, who took the leap and got there, positioned us in the best league in the world, "Rudy reflected during the 'Luis de Carlos Forum' organized by the Fundación Real Madrid.
The Majorcan player played between 2008 and 2011 in the same team that Martín did three decades earlier, the Portland Trail Blazers -Rudy came to honor him wearing the Fernando Martín shirt in the 2009 Mates Contest- , recalled that "the strength" of the center who died in 1989 in an accident " opened the door for such important players as Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro or José Manuel Calderón ", who years later made a career in the NBA .
Other Real Madrid idols also played in Portland, such as Lithuanian Arvydas Sabonis and Canarian baseman Sergio Rodríguez, with whom Rudy Fernández coincided in the NBA. "Portland is very European, there are many players who have played there and with Real Madrid … In that sense there are many NBA teams that watch leagues like the European one little by little the NBA is seeing that the European level is growing, and one of the franchises with the most European players is Portland, "said Fernández.
The current Real Madrid coach, Pablo Laso, also participated in this forum, remembering Fernando Martín as "An advance in many respects" . "He was the first Spaniard who went there, he was very clear that for his growth that was the way, that speaks highly of him as a player and also of his ambition, and it was important for Real Madrid that a player like him went to NBA ", highlighted the coach from Vitoria.