Our friends from Spurs Brazil shared this great interview with Tiago Splitter. The Website in on Portuguese so I used Google Translate and some common sense to try and interpret it in English.
Here is an excerpt.
Tiago Splitter was presented last Monday to the Brazilian team led by Ruben Magnano.
The team work in preparation for the Pre-Olympic Tournament in Mar del Plata, which will be held in September.
Tuesday was a day of medical tests, and Spurs Brazil took the opportunity to chat with Tiago.
Splitter talked about his first season with the San Antonio Spurs, the lockout and the expectation for the competition in Argentina, which could put Brazil back in the Olympics after 16 years of absence.
Spurs Brazil – What can you say about your first season with the San Antonio Spurs?
Tiago Splitter – I started with an injury problem, I came pretty worn out from my time in Spain and had the following Sunday, which I could not play 100%. This weighed heavily on pre-season and fell on an injury just when I was starting my career in the NBA.
But fortunately I was able to recover, could help the team at times of the season. Maybe I did not have the minutes that I wanted, but it is normal on condition that I was a rookie on a team and playing a conservative coach like Popovich, I think that’s a normal thing and I accept his decision. I hope to continue improving.
I think both on and off the court, I’ve learned a lot and hope to continue improving next season, be a little more active in games and to help the Spurs win more games.
SB – How is it working with Popovich? What is the relationship with him on and off the court?
TS – He, on the court, is a very demanding guy, asks a lot of basketball things. I think this is normal and necessary, it’s good to have a leader like him in the Spurs. Off the court, it was exceptional. Everyone treated me well, not only him, but I was treated well from day one and I feel really great in San Antonio, as if I were at home. I hope to be there for many years to come.
SB – How is your relationship with Tim Duncan? Does he try to teach you some new things? What have you learned from him this season?
TS – He is one of the greatest players in NBA history, so no one discusses it. For me it was very rewarding to play with him, learn the attitude that he has inside and outside the court.
I think at this point, he can still play good basketball. I hope to play with him for at least another year, his contract expires after that. Obviously he is no longer the same player when he was 22, 23 years when he was better physically, but he still has plenty of basketball, knows the game better than anyone and I hope he can help this year with his experience in the NBA, not just me but the other players as well.
SB – How about Manu Ginobili? There is a possibility that you will play against each other in the Pre-Olympic. Now that you are used to playing together, how will you face your teammate?
TS – He really is a different player. I think he is the only player in the world that has Euroleague, NBA and Olympic titles. So it really is hard to stop him. But I think both I and Reuben (Magnano) worked with him and other players from Argentina, so we’ll have to work hard enough to defend them and win against them in Argentina.
SB – How your participation in the national can help you in San Antonio? Was there any kind of impediment on the part of the Spurs? How does the team handle the issue of letting their players play for their national teams?
TS – I think (as much as possible) nobody (NBA team) likes their players, to play with his national team. But they respect my decision, I know I want to play with the national team.
I think everyone was more or less aware of the situation that would exist from the lockout, then it is also a way for me to keep playing basketball, stay fit and be focused mentally as a basketball player. Not only be trained individually on the court, at the same time, I will also be playing important games for my home country and it only will help my career.