Alfonso Reyes: “I wanted to be an engineer rather than a basketball player” | Basketball | Sports

He was a star of the Spanish basketball team in the late nineties, before the arrival of the generation of Pau Gasol and his brother Felipe. He played with Estudiantes, Real Madrid, Unicaja… and even Racing de Paris. A civil engineer, he presides over the Association of Professional Basketball Players. But many met Alfonso Reyes (Córdoba, 51 years old) when he recounted his hospital admission during the first wave of the coronavirus through Twitter. “It gave me relief and I said what I thought was appropriate,” he clarifies. Although they call him controversial, controversial… “and fascist, above all fascist.” He has followed with interest the Spanish team’s time at the World Cup in Jakarta, where they were eliminated in the second phase against Canada. “You can’t always win, you have fought until the end,” he says.

Ask. Where does your thing with basketball come from? There is no history in his family…

Answer. I’m tall, just like that. My parents always wanted us to play sports, to keep us entertained. My father found out that they were doing some tests at Real Madrid and he took me. What happened to my brother was a bit by imitation. Chance, destiny and talent did the rest.

P. Don’t take credit for yourself.

R. I am very proud of the career I have had, although I wanted to be an engineer rather than a basketball player. I started my degree, but as I was getting results in basketball I prioritized it, although I never stopped studying. Imagine the years it took me to get the title.

P. Too many resignations, I imagine…

R. The summers were very short, but I had more purchasing power than my friends. I like to tell the players to keep in mind what will come next, because they will spend more time not being players than being one. In this profession there are many broken toys, and few institutions address this issue. They dedicate themselves to the athlete as a medal-winner, as if he were a thoroughbred. And the day after is the worst moment.

P. How was yours?

R. I had pending subjects in my degree, so I got on with it and also found a job. I retired in June and in October I was already working as an engineer.

P. You and your brother went from Estudiantes to Real Madrid.

R. We have suffered that rivalry, but they are the rules of the game. No one should whistle at you because you are going to another company. And when a fan pays a ticket, it does not include the right to insult.

P. More rivalries, you and your brother Felipe.

R. We have handled that very well. We have played together in Estudiantes and in the national team, also against each other, but everything that has been good for my brother is good for me. He has

He has been one of the best Spanish athletes and his record is unsurpassed, I feel very proud of him. Off the court he is even better than on it.

P. As president of the Association of Professional Basketball Players, he has criticized the nationalization of some foreign players…

R. We fight for everyone’s interests during their professional lives and we have seventy-something percent foreigners, the highest percentage of any professional sports league in the world. I think it should decrease, because young people need to be able to establish themselves in our teams. There will always be ten or twelve very good players in Spain, but there has to be more middle class.

Reyes, during the interview in Boadilla del Monte (Madrid).
Reyes, during the interview in Boadilla del Monte (Madrid).Jaime Villanueva

P. And what does the Higher Sports Council do?

R. This is everyone’s task. They, the federation, the ACB, the clubs… I think that success is a good number of Spanish players plus a few foreigners who have been here for a while. But if the CSD allows a few to be nationalized expressly and without having any connection with Spanish basketball… In the case of Lorenzo Brown I do not criticize the player, because he is wonderful and very good, but I think that is not the line to follow.

P. Many met him through Twitter, when he was infected with covid. It’s ok right?

R. I like that you ask me, seriously. I was admitted, I had a very bad time and I don’t know how close I was to leaving… Sorry, I’m getting emotional.

P. I am very crybaby, I can accompany you.

R. Those days I thought about my family and it helped me a lot to tell people what was happening to me. I don’t know if they are consequences or age, but since then I have noticed certain memory gaps. Before I would forget a word, I would open the drawer and find it. Now I have to look for it, even close the drawer a little and open it later in case it appears. Social networks help me stay informed, but when faced with an insult, I block. My friends are not there, but outside. But I’m not in trouble all day, huh? I also talk about books.

P. What are you reading now?

R. ‘History of the Second World War’, by Basil Liddel Hart, ‘The Russian Revolution’ by Orlando Figes and ‘Father Brown’ by Chesterton.

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