Three weeks ago Tiago Splitter of the San Antonio Spurs seemed like he was about to win his first NBA championship. Then, the Spurs were headed into Oklahoma City with a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. But later that Thursday night, May 31, the Spurs would fall to the Thunder and fast forward to today, the Miami Heat are one win away from the crown, and the Thunder are the team now feeling what the Splitter and the Spurs felt, desperation on the verge of elimination.
The season didn't end well for Splitter and the Spurs, but with a loss came a new joy as Splitter's son Benjamin was born two weeks after the Spurs were eliminated. Splitter's break from basketball also didn't last long as he now prepares to help Brazil medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
The Brazilian site CBB.com caught up with Splitter where he talked about the Spurs' loss to the Thunder, what he's been doing to prepare for the Olympics, and about being a new dad. (Translations via Google Translate)
Splitter said after the Spurs were eliminated, he quickly got back to the floor to prepare for the Olympics.
I'm fine (physically), I continued working on days off in San Antonio and not missing a beat. Yesterday I've trained, and I've trained well, then everything is fine and I am prepared for this phase of training.
When asked to give his take on the Western Conference Finals, Splitter said the Spurs just couldn't stop the Thunder.
They (Thunder) played great ball, won the on the court and I am not shaken by this loss.
During the Conference Finals, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was seen correcting Splitter in "Pops way." Splitter discussed the difference in coaching styles between coach Pop and his Brazilian coach Ruben Magano.
Each has his style, in training Gregg talks a lot with the players off the court and is fairly easy. On the court scolds, do what's best for the team. With Magnano, he is calmer off the court, but on the court he is as rigorous.
Splitter says just going to the Olympics won't be enough for him and his teammates, they're there to medal.
We have to think about winning a medal. There's no point going there just for the Olympics in order to participate. We're thinking about winning, thinking about reaching a medal, and that is the goal.
With his son being a new born, Splitter says the baby will stay with his mother and grandmother back in San Antonio while he's away in Brazil and London. Splitter will be using today's technology to stay as virtually close to his family as possible while he's away.
Lastly, Splitter discussed the relationship Argentine and Houston Rockets forward Luis Scola has with he and his family, though they come from two different South American countries.
He is a kind of godfather to my son. We have a great friendship. He has been to our games, we also barbecue together.
Splitter and Brazil are currently training in Brazil and he's joined by fellow NBA countrymen Nene of the Washington Wizards and Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Splitter will be seeing some of his Spurs teammates next month when the Olympics begin in late July, such as Tony Parker and Boris Diaw of France, Manu Ginobili of Argentina, and Patty Mills of Australia.