Delfino: ‘I could never retire from the National Team’

Serie Carlos Delfino, enjoy. His historical companions are biking, fishing, commenting on TV, but he keeps going. At age 39, and after a partial farewell at the 2016 Rio Games, Lancha o Cabeza returned to a National Team that

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-If there is something that characterizes you, it is your smile, be positive. Why?

-I always had to smile and look at things on the positive side. When you grow up, it becomes more of a carcass and you try not to make negative. Many ugly things have happened to me but one always tries to find a way out. I don’t feel like a super man or a different one, because the first defense one has is to try to smile and move on.

-How do you take the call?

-In the sporting case, I take this call as something that comes a little like revenge, as a reward for all this effort and perseverance. Because if I think about trying to continue playing with the physical display that I had in 2004, it didn’t last long on the court, in training or in sports. I think I have to be mature enough and find my way around to continue reinventing myself and remain positive and productive for this group sport, with the idea of ​​continuing to play while seeing the full part of the glass.

-And the smile?

-The smile is because I always enjoy, the ball for me is still the best gift I have received, the best toy, because I have fun. My retirement is going to happen naturally and I plan to continue playing or look for an alternative. Inside the rectangle I was always a happy person.

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-You have to reinvent yourself but you play 30 minutes on average in Italy …

-It’s the part I like the most. The other day the game ended in which I played 36 minutes and they tell me about my age … And I try not to talk about my age, not because I don’t like it or because I want to hide the wrinkles or I don’t want to feel old. At 18, I was lucky enough to play against Oscar, Sabonis, Kukoc, freaks. I’m not going to compare myself with any of those three phenomena, but inside me I wanted to measure myself and tell me that I had played with them.

-How do they see you?

-Today I don’t know if there is a person who says the same about me, but I want to try to measure up, have my role and chances to compete on a field. I feel like I’m productive and I don’t really suffer from it. Obviously because of my age, in Pesaro they take care of me, they pamper me, they keep me between cotton wool. But I’m not afraid of the time I play and I also feel very comfortable. I don’t feel comfortable with how we are on the table, of course …

-Last …

-We are suffering a lot, the Italian is a very competitive tournament. The last and the tenth we are a game and a half away. So we suffer a month without winning playing once a week, and when a team falls into a pothole it is difficult to raise our head. I am the oldest, the captain, I think that is the moment when I don’t have to leave the field, I have to play more.

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Delfino trains with the National Team

-That’s also strange …

-In that sense I take it as a bit of a masochist because I missed being on the pitch. When you are not there, you suffer so many things, because competition is not just being there and winning. Many times it is also strange to lose, to make a partner better, the changing rooms, the talks.

-How did you live from 2013 to 2016, with the seven foot operations? Did you get angry, did you get depressed, did you withdraw?

-All together what you said. I was bad, angry, depressed, withdrawn … I think they are all states of mind that you should never hide and always have to continue to get the best out of you. Maybe the click can be a small thing or a giant thing. I realized that I could, that I owed it, that’s why when I talk about an award, it’s that constancy, how hard-headed I was to keep trying to find a crazy solution to a rare problem that I had without paying attention to 99 % of people who told me to do something else.

-And today?

-I enjoy much more, every training session, every game, every chance and feeling good, running on the field. To have the chance to even play with my children in a field shooting hoops, playing soccer or running on the athletics track with my daughter. When I had my hard period I was lame and couldn’t walk without limping. You didn’t know it, but you have to go through the process of getting angry, of withdrawing. That which takes you out of your comfort zone, pushes you towards something different. This is the prize and I’m stupid, and if it’s bigger, we’re going for something bigger. I am and I feel in the race, I can compete, I am fit. I feel good and that’s the good thing.

Delfino in Athens 2004.

Delfino in Athens 2004.

-What is the Selection for you?

-I could never retire from the National Team or from basketball. One has to realize that time is passing, and that they do not call you again, as they did not call me again. But every time there was a list I was hoping to be there, I always thought I could help, give a hand. But I also never liked meritocracy, hitchhiking and so on. Each one is in their position and manages what they can, I always dedicated myself to playing, giving my best and then, who was on duty, had to choose or not. I live with that and I always say that when you went through a selection process, you understand what it is to be inside or outside. Obviously it is not the same, but the feeling and desire that these colors do well is exactly the same. You suffer more from the outside because you can’t do much.

-What does this window mean?

-Today I am happy to be here, to have the chance to be in this window. Playing a window today against Paraguay is very important, like playing a World Cup or an Olympiad. It is a being at home, in the place that one always wanted to be. These colors are what one returns to and remains. Today I have to be playing with the rojiblanca from Pesaro, before with other colors, but the National Team is the one that always remains: my favorite shirt is the 10 of the National Team, all my life.

Che García repatriated Delfino.

Che García repatriated Delfino.

-You used to come and meet your litter. Today you meet a 19-year-old Juan Fernández …

-Today it happens to me to be all the time mixed with new generations who talk about other things, believe in other things, have other habits. But it’s the beauty: coming, reinventing themselves and also learning from them, from the youngest. Likewise, even though I come and I don’t meet a Colo Wolkowyski, a Chapu Nocioni or a Fabricio Oberto, I do meet a lot of people. With Marquitos Mata, with whom I have lived in calls …

-Of course, he is 35 years old, he is closer to your litter …

-We have played the 2010 World Cup with Marquitos. With (Nicolás) Romano we have also been part of many calls. I have known Chuzito González since he was born because our parents played together. This is also the beauty of basketball, because you grow, creating bonds. And come to play with the National Team, we come to help, to try to assemble.

-Before it was different …

-Obviously, when at some time the names were always the same, it was only one concentration a year and so on. Perhaps the fact of repeating names made the ensemble of one year work for the other, few pieces to accommodate. But times are also changing, and I am older, I am also much more vocal (sic) with the group than I was before. In other times, maybe you came to the team and tried to solve things on the court and did not give a lot of ball to what was happening around you.

-And now?

But when one is older, one tries to understand more with the team and have a group in which they are all together. And try to think more about the group and be more prepared to compete. This is achieved from the moment you enter the hotel, having lunch, dinner, training. So today I am more attentive to those things that may not have been very fond of before, but it is all part of the experience as well.

Delfino in Italy

Delfino is the leader of Pesaro, the team that is last in Serie A in Italy. Lancha averages in 9 games of the tournament: 15.6 points (with 53.7% from the court and 87.5% in free practice) plus 4.7 in rebounds and 2.3 in assists in 30 minutes.

Delfino in Pesaro.

Delfino in Pesaro.


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Delfino: ‘I could never retire from the National Team’