Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Saying 'Adios' To The Spanish Armada
When talking to Rudy about his first season in the NBA, Sergio Rodriguez’s name comes up a lot, and with good reason. He was Rudy’s closest friend on the team, his running buddy on and off the court, countrymen and teammates for the Trail Blazers and the Spanish national team. Sergio the lob-throwing half of the “Spanish Connection,” later dubbed the “Spanish Armada,” with Rudy playing the part of the easy gliding finisher.
But Sergio’s most important impact on Rudy likely came off the court. Sergio’s ability to help Rudy traverse his first year in the United States might have been Rodriguez’s best assist of his career. His guidance and friendship played a huge part in allowing Rudy to surpass expectations in his first foray into the NBA.
“In Portland, I think it’s important that Sergio helped me a lot with the transition for the first year,” said Rudy. “But LA, Brandon, Joel, Travis, everybody help me for the transition for the team.”
But while LA, Brandon, Joel and Travis are still Trail Blazers, Sergio is now gone, off to the Sacramento Kings in a draft night trade. The Spanish Armada, for the second time in history, was sunk, or at the very least, docked indefinitely. After having taught him so much in his first season, Sergio’s departure imparted a final lesson on Rudy: That the NBA, as they often say, is a business.
And even though he’ll readily admit he’s going to miss his compatriot, Rudy, true to form, is taking a positive approach to the situation.
“I think it’s an opportunity for him to play in Sacramento, play minutes,” said Rudy. “For me, for sure, I’m am not happy Sergio is going to another team, but it’s basketball. It’s sports. Right now I am focused. For me I’m happy right now because Sergio is happy.”
As for his life post-Sergio, Rudy says he’s ready for the challenge, with a little help from his friends.
“I think (I’m ready). I can tell for sure when I come back to Portland, but I think so. Right now I am focused in my work in Portland with my friends, because LA, Brandon, Travis, Martell, Greg, Bayless these are big friends with me, too.”