The San Antonio Spurs may have had their quest for a fifth NBA title come crashing down but one former Spurs player is in the hunt for his first basketball championship -- Malik Hairston.
Hairston was acquired by the Spurs via a trade with the Phoenix Suns in the 2008 NBA Draft. He played 15 games with the Spurs in the 2008-09 season, and averaged 2.1 points and 1.0 rebounds in 6.7 minutes with the Spurs in 2009-10.
During his short NBA career, he also split time between the Spurs and their D-League affiliate Austin Toros before playing overseas with the Italian club Montepaschi Siena.
Currently, Hairston and his team are in Barcelona this weekend, looking to capture the Euroleague crown and Hairston is looking forward to have a shot at a title:
“It would be huge, especially with this being my first season over here,” Hairston said. “And I’m not taking this for granted. A lot of great players go their entire careers and never get this chance.
“So it’s definitely a great opportunity.”
When asked about his time with the Spurs, Hairston had nothing but great things to say:
“I think they were great with me,” Hairston said. “Of course I would have liked to have played a little bit more. But during my time we were very heavy at the wing position as I was behind Manu Ginobili, Michael Finley, Keith Bogans and Richard Jefferson. These are All-Stars, Hall of Famers.
“It would have been tough for anybody to crack that lineup. So I think they did an incredible job with me and I learned a lot.”
He also spoke on how the Spurs treated him when he requested a release from the team and his two-year contract to play for Montepaschi:
“I asked them and they were very supportive,” Hairston said. “They didn’t want to hold me back from that kind of opportunity.
“I was at a point in my career where I needed to get a lot of experience that would help me as well as a chance to get a very, very good paycheck. This is a new experience altogether for me.”
Best of luck to Hariston as his team faces Greek club Panathinaikos in Friday’s first semifinal.