Out of respect for the franchise, I couldn't delay my decision much longer. They need time to form a new team. If I decided to stop playing, they had to look for another option. I could wait and see what happened with Aldridge, if he was coming or not. That was my deadline. Once he said yes, it was my turn to decide.
I'm staying in because I don't see myself away from basketball yet. Two months passed, enough time to stop the ball and think.
I believe this is a nice opportunity. I am excited about the new team and I didn't want to miss the fun.
Knowing that they were so sure about keeping me in the team was definitely a crucial factor. If they harbored doubts, the decision making process would have been faster. But knowing that they wanted me was nice, it made me feel respected, and the decision comes more freely. It must be pretty hard to retire because you don't have the choice to continue. Luckily, that was not the case.
I didn't watch the second round of playoffs, nor the Conference finals. I was still I bit hurt. Then, when I watched the finals. I missed it a little. I felt that itch telling me I wanted to play again. The fire is still burning.
When it comes to taking such a turning point decision for your life as it is retiring, there can be no doubts. Some days I woke up saying I was quitting. Some days I would be sure to stay. But for such a relevant decision, I needed to be a 100 % sure. Once I said yes, all my doubts vanished. I talked about it with Pop. "I'm excited, I want to do it."
For Many, there never seems to be a problem. Many always wants me to do what I want. My kids are still kids, so for them, the situation remains the same. His father plays basketball for a living, and that's the most normal thing in the world. That's all they want to know.
I am very excited about what's coming. The addition of a player like LaMarcus Aldrigde, one of the best in the NBA nowadays, is very important. That's quite a change for our image.
I'm really going to miss Tiago, a good friend inside as well as outside the court. I will also miss Marco, Baynes and Cory Joseph. Loosing playing mates is always sad, but we all know of the changes that were taking place this year. And within those changes, the arrival of Aldridge is a good thing. It will be interesting to see how a player of his characteristics integrates with a winning team as ours. I feel really optimistic.
We also added David West, a hard and experienced player. He gives us depth and a variety of new options. He dismissed an excellent economic proposal to join our team.
The older you get, the more you know about the time you have left. I know I want to have fun, to treasure those moments, and at the same time, I want to win. If you win, you have more fun. That's my mind. Soon I will be 38, and I know every new season can be my last one. I know I don't have much longer, but I don't think about that when I play. Who knows? Maybe by June of next year I still feel I can keep helping my team. I don't know. Time will tell.
I enjoy living every day of my life. Now, with the confirmation in mind, things change. I've been training, weightlifting to keep in shape. But now that's all set, that I said I am back and everything is in place, my goals are others. I have to be physically prepared. I have to adjust my strength and my diet. There is no rush with my game, but during my visit to Argentina I ate too much and I'm going to take care of that little by little.
I feel flattered that people is happy to know that I will continue playing. It makes me feel well, it helps me find new challenges. You don't want to disappoint anyone. Because all that also implies a responsibility, even if it's not your priority. I want to do things right.
During the last months, when I came across one of those clips they post on Twitter or some video, I watched it and said to myself: "I want to be there, in the court; I want to feel that again, to be part of a team that contagious enthusiasm that we have transmitted during the last few seasons. I am part of something very special for the NBA's present and for its history. The fire is still burning. I want to enjoy it. I want to live it. That's all we have in life. I don't want to miss it. Now, with all those new talents that we incorporated, these players that can change the game while keeping our traditions at the same time, I know we can still achieve a lot.