SPORTS

Schortsanitis is ready to make the move to the NBA

National basketball team mainstay Sofoklis Schortsanitis has gone to the United States to discuss his future with one of the NBA franchises that hold rights in the league across the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Clippers. Seven years since he was selected as Number 34 in the NBA draft, it seems more likely than ever that «Big Sofo» will play in the world’s greatest basketball league. He spoke to Kathimerini just before leaving for California last Wednesday. What exactly is the purpose of your trip to Los Angeles? I am going to LA to talk with the Clippers about continuing my career there. They have invited me and showed me they want me, so I thought it a good idea to go and find out about the franchise and the city, how the land lies there. I am in a period where I have to make some important decisions about my career and my life and I reckon I have to make this trip. I am going there to get some training, to see the peculiarities of the way they work there and to adjust to the pace of life and this is why I have taken with me my personal trainer, Costas Hatzichristos. Are you going thinking that you may be playing in the NBA next season? I do not know whether I will be playing in the NBA. I cannot say that now, before even talking to the Clippers. What I can say though is that I do feel like that, I feel ready psychologically and basketball-wise to make this move. I fee ready to join the NBA and try my luck and my abilities in this league, which everyone knows it is fantastic. Is there a chance you may play in a summer league with the Clippers? I do not know right now. That is something we will find out and decide jointly in the coming days. What will help you to decide? There are many factors that shape a player’s decision. Especially when it concerns an NBA team. I would first like to get to know the franchise, the environment, see what they have to say to me, how they perceive Schortsanitis, my role on the team and, of course, the financial aspect to it. Everything will play its part. You now are a free agent. Your contract with Olympiakos has expired. Is there the possibility of renewing it? It is for Olympiakos and [owners] Angelopoulos brothers that I still play basketball. This is something I have already stated and there is no point in elaborating. Until now I have had no contact from Olympiakos besides being told that they need to finish the issue of the coach first and then see the rest. That is how things stand at the moment. Once you’ve returned from Los Angeles, you have another challenge ahead of you: The World Championship in Turkey with the national team. What can Greece fans expect then? We are runners-up in the world, we should not forget that. In the previous tournament, we beat the Americans in the semifinal and contested the final. Last year, despite missing many players, we managed to return home from the European Championship with the bronze medal. There is therefore a continuity in success. We want to prolong this. We will do anything possible to reach as high as we can, which for a team like our’s means a medal. We really want it. It would be great if we were on the podium in two consecutive World Championships.