lunes, 9 de diciembre de 2013



Interview and Indicated Pictures : José Manuel Serrano Esparza 

May 31, 1983. Mariano Pozo, a seventeen years old teenager living in Málaga (Spain), is sitting in the dining-room of his house experiencing a hypnotic spell watching on TV the 4th game of the 1982-83 NBA Finals between Philadelphia Seventy Sixers and Los Angeles Lakers disputed at the mythical Forum of Inglewood in Los Angeles (California). The team captained by Julius Erving, is 3-0 ahead in the series.

The duel is as always to the death. Los Angeles Lakers, the best squad of eighties. With its show time and legendary players like Earvin Magic Johnson, Kareeem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, Norm Nixon and others, need to win this contest at all costs if they want to survive.

On their hand, Philadelphia Seventy Sixers has been already trying to get their first ring during eighties and know that this is their great chance, and besides, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, Julius Erving, Bobby Jones and Cleamon Johnson have added to their basic lineup the decisive factor to win the NBA: Moses Malone, the most devastating rebounder in the whole history of the competition, who is holding sway over both backboards (he will capture a total of 23 rebounds -15 defensive and eight in attack - ).

The match is a relish for any basketball enthusiast: assists without looking and lightning fastbreaks performed by Magic Johnson (2,06 m and 102 kg point guard playing as a pure 1) distributing the game as nobody before, Maurice Cheeks accurately reading the match tempos in Philadelphia attacks, Kareem Abdul Jabbar making baskets with his famous Sky Hook, Kurt Rambis fighting tooth and nail for each ball, Michael Cooper defending with huge intensity and making impressive leaps, Andrew Toney throwing medium and long distance shots with great accuracy, Julius Erving making exceedingly quick drivings into basket with impossible slum dunks full of power and elegance, Bobby Jones fighting at the end of his tether.

For the first time in his career since he won three back-to-back NCAA titles with UCLA and subsequently played in NBA with Milwaukee and Los Angeles Lakers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2.18 m) is not dominating the rebound (he will finish with only seven, all of them defensive ones) because of the colossal strength, remarkable sense of position, knowledge of the game and resolve of Moses Malone, turned into a real hammer.

Mariano Pozo in the gardens of the Royal Palace of Madrid. 30 years ago began his career as a professional basketball photographer, going to the courts of both Caja de Ronda and Mayoral Maristas, the two basketball teams then existing in Málaga, until their merge as Málaga Basketball Club, sponsored and known as Unicaja, in 1992. A man featuring very deep basketball knowledge, his life has always been linked to this sport since he was a child.

At a distance of 9580 km, in Málaga, Mariano Pozo, who has been playing basketball since he was nine years old in Los Maristas, his school, realizes that there are only 2 minutes and 24 second to go, and Billy Cunningham (Philadelphia coach) asks for a timeout with L.A Lakers up 104-106. Suddenly, Julius Erving says: Let this to me!, scores seven consecutive points and Philadelphia Seventy Sixers win the game 111-108, conquering his second NBA titled as a Philadelphia based franchise.

Mariano Pozo is staggered. What he has just seen overcomes him, gets him passionate and he notices that he loves it with unutterable fervor.

Besides, he has watched his first match of the Spanish League between Caja de Ronda and Joventut of Badalona. He already knows how is the atmosphere inside a basketball court, the spectacularity of this sport, the briskness with which matches are lived on the stands, and besides, in that game he has been able to go down and get pictures on the edge of the court, exactly what he needs.

It´s a turning point in his life. From now on, this will be his occupation, because this is what he likes most doing.

Mariano Pozo getting pictures during the Spanish King´s Cup 2014 Final Match between Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona.

Mariano Pozo, a recognized basketball professional photographer (Unicaja of Málaga official photographer since 1983, 24 years photographer for Diario As – from 1989 – and Chief of Photography of Diario Costa del Sol ) has been photographing elite basketball for nothing less than thirty years, including ACB League, Spanish King´s Cup, Euroleague and even coverage of big NBA stars throughout some of his trips, having also photographed some Final Four Euroleagues.

He´s also been a reporter for specialized magazines like Nuevo Basket and Gigantes del Basket, Chief of Photography of Diario Málaga for 12 years and has steadily collaborated with the most important national and international agencies as EFE and Getty Images, having seen his work published in different media like El Periódico de Catalunya, Nómadas, El Mundo, Randevu, Diario 16, El Día de Andalucía, Turismo Europeo, Andalucía Única, Yachting World, Orlando Sentinel, Viajes de National Geographic

Mariano Pozo, professional basketball photographer featuring a 30 years experience, in a moment of the interview at the Florida Hotel in Madrid.

During a recent layover he made in Madrid, we had the chance of interviewing this remarkable professional sports photographer who has lived utterly devoted to basketball for three decades, without ever slackening and iota his deep love for this sport.

How old were you when you began being interested in basketball?
Very early. I started playing basketball and baseball being 9 years old. Those were my two favourite sports and I was in the team of my school in both of them.

What did you feel when you watched live your first match of Spanish League between Caja de Ronda and Joventut of Badalona in 1983?
It was an incredible sensation, to watch the audience vibrate, the many showy plays, the stamina of the players, the outstanding beauty of this sport. I went to the match with a cousin of mine, I took a photographic camera and suddenly something made me go down to be as nearer as possible to the court to get pictures, and I attained it. From then, I didn´t miss a match, and besides, I began going to the rehearsals to make photographs and little by little I was having contact with the players. I remember that in this time hooks were fixed, not swivelling ones.

When and how did you start to be self-dependent as a professional basketball photographer?
In the beginning it was rather hard, but it was a nice and unforgettable stage.

Dan Caldwell (Caja de Ronda forward) steals a ball from Mike Davis (F.C.Barcelona center) during a Caja de Ronda-F.C. Barcelona match of 1983-84 season held in Málaga.

I sold the pictures at 100 pesetas to the players and so I could finance my 35 mm films, chemicals, papers, etc, because in that period a high percentage of the photographs made were in black and white, with all the magic it means. Immediately after the games I went home quickly to my grandmother´s home to develop the 24 x 36 mm b & w spools in my small darkroom and watch the pictures I had made.

Mike Shulz, center of Caja de Ronda, throwing his famous hook during a match of 1985-86 season.

I have always been nonconformist and rather self-critic and have felt the need to raise above myself and try to get best pictures.

Amazing two-handed slam dunk by John Deveraux (Caja de Ronda) during a 1986-87 match of the ACB Spanish League.

On the other hand, in those times, unlike currently, there wasn´t the compelling need of utmost prompting in the sending of pictures, since I worked with monthly magazines like Nuevo Basket or weekly ones like Gigantes del Básket, so I had some days to choose the best images and send them through mail, because internet hadn´t appeared yet. Simultaneously, I phoned the players to show them the pictures and they were gradually opening the doors of the illustrated sporting media to me, so I´m fairly grateful to them.

Is it true that in early eighties there were very few people watching the games live in the stands?
Yes, it´s true. There weren´t usually more than 1,000 thousand spectators and 500 or even 300 people were a normal thing in some matches.

When does begin in your opinion the genesis of basketball as a mass sport in Spain with huge social penetration?
Undoubtedly with the extraordinary performance of the Spanish basketball team during Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

Fernando Martín, a key man in the historical triumph of the Spanish squad during Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games in which it got the Silver Medal after defeating Yugoslavia in semifinals, playing the final game against United States.

That great team with Juan Antonio Corbalán, Nacho Solozábal, Fernando Martín, Epi, Itturiaga, Jiménez, José Luis Llorente, Fernando Romay, José maría Margall, Juanito de la Cruz, Fernando Arcega, Beirán, etc, coached by Antonio Díaz Miguel made a very important sporting feat, attaining the silver medal after beating in the semifinal game to a very powerful Yugoslavian team (Nebojsa Zorkic, Alexandr Petrovic, Drazen Petrovic, Rajko Zizic, Drazen Dalipagic, Mihovil Nakic, Andro Knego and Radovanovic) with an astounding second half (in which Antonio Díaz Miguel manage to neutralize the zone defense which had been implemented by Mirko Novosel in the first half) in which highlighted the great defensive efficiency of Fernando Romay stopping Zizic, a masterly play making by José Luis Llorente and a splendid José María Margall who scored everything he threw. The whole Spain didn´t sleep that unforgettable night to watch live the exploit on TV, which meant the international level launching of the Spanish basketball.

Seeing that team playing in the Final Game against Michael Jordan, Pat Ewing, Chris Mullin, Wayman Tisdale, Steve Alford, etc, was something truly thrilling.

What did in your viewpoint Dan Caldwell mean as a forward for the History of Caja de Ronda and the Spanish Basketball?
A tremendous qualitative leap. He was one of the first very tall elite shooters arriving in Spain. He was 2,03 m tall and was an excellent medium and long distance range scorer, with a very spectacular play. In Málaga he made a difference.

What Spanish basketball photographers have you known?
I´ve always been a great admirer of Miguel Ángel Forniés (Nuevo Basket), the first Spanish photographer assigned in NBA. We met in Málaga a lot of years ago, albeit I had previously watched his pictures and read his texts. I learnt a lot from him and we have kept a longlasting friendship. I´d also mention Juan Carlos Candel (Gigantes del Basket), Juan Carlos Hidalgo (who was Director of Photography of Gigantes del Basket), Emilio Cobos (Gigantes del Básket), Josep María Arolas and Fernando Laura, who made the pictures of Fernando Martín the day of his debut in NBA with Portland Trail Blazers (manolo Lama and Sixto Miguel Serrano were also present) on October 12, 1986 and which appeared in Nuevo Basket magazine. And I have also seen with great interest the images created by José Luis García Surrallés, another of the doyens of basketball photography in Spain, who made the first cover of Gigantes del Basket magazine in 1986 with the famous picture of Fernando Martín and Greg Wiltjer. I have learnt from all of them.

How did you manage to get the first images of Arvydas Sabonis with the Real Madrid shirt and record him saying that he wanted to win the European Cup with the Real Madrid?
Everything began when Valdemaras Homicius, who has been like my brother for many years, phoned me and said that night Javier Imbroda and some representatives of the Lithuanian Olympic Committee would meet at his home because they wished to hire him as a second coach for the Lithuanian national basketball team.

Lithuania had just become independent from the Soviet Union. I noticed it was an interesting story and I paid out-of-pocket the trip to Kaunas (Lithuania) to follow the developments, because I felt that I could make an interesting reportage. Once there, I was meeting people, players and making good contacts.

After coming back to Málaga, I was phoned by Martín Tello, editor-in-chief of Diario As (specialized sporting newspaper with which I have been working as a photographer since 1989), reporting me that Arvydas Sabonis was to be hired by Real Madrid and asking me if I could take off on a trip to Kaunas (Lithuania) next day, flying in a first airplane Málaga-Madrid and subsequently on a second one Madrid Barajas-Kaunas.

This way, I went there for the second time, arriving the same day there was a match between Lithuania national team and Illinois University from NCAA. It was the first game of this Baltic Republic as an independent state. And during the party following the match, I could get the scoop, interviewing Sabonis and photographing him holding with Real Madrid shirt and scarf, as well as recording his words in which he expressed his wish to win the European Cup with Real Madrid.

How did you achieve to be named photographer of the Lithuanian National Basketball Team, one of the most important ones in the world, for the coverage of the 1992 Preolympic Tournament?
It was the fruit of the sincere contacts and friendships that I had made in Lithuania during my two first trips and after the publication by Diario As of the reportage I made to Sabonis.

Everything turned out quite well and the people of Lithuanian basketball, players and coaching staff were happy with me, proposed me to photograph them throughout the Barcelona 1992 Preolympic tournament and I gladly accepted.

Kaunas (Lithuania). 1992. Arturas Karnisovas, Valdemaras Homicius, Mariano Pozo, Arvydas Sabonis, Javier Imbroda, Sarunas Marciulonis, Krapikas and Rimas Kurtinaitis can be seen among other in this image.

From then I made a great friendship with Homicius, Sabonis, Marciulonis, Iovaisha and many others.

I endeavoured to my utmost during the two months I was with them and got a lot of pictures.

Sarunas Marciulonis being interviewed by Mariano Pozo. He has been one of the best three shooting guards in the history of European basketball, and his extraordinary quality, highly accurate medium and long distance shots, physical strength more inherent to a power forward and brutal change of pace in the counterattacks, allowed him to be one of the architects of the great victory of USSR over Yugoslavia in Seoul 1988 Olympic Games and a key man in the later Lithuanian national basketball team, and a further stage of seven years as a NBA player between the seasons 1989-90 and 1996-97 with Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets, being runner-up for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1992 averaging 18,9 points and 3,4 assists per game, figures which he would have certainly improved if there wouldn´t have been his later serious knee injury.

What did you feel when the Olympic Committee of Lithuania bestowed its golden medal upon you as deep appreciation of your labour with them?
It was something unforgettable and fairly moving, since it entailed the recognition and estimation of my work.

Golden Medal of the Olympic Federation of Lithuania awarded to Mariano Pozo as acknowledgement to his photographic coverage of the basketball Olympic national team of that country during the 1992 Preolympic Tournament.

When they had that beautiful gesture with me it was something incredible and I´m very thankful to them.

An enraptured Mariano Pozo during a moment of the interview when he remembered the day in which he had to take Kareeem Abdul-Jabbar by van to the Alhambra of Granada.

How was your experience with Kareeem Abdul-Jabbar in the Unicaja Campus and later on taking him by van to Granada?
Bringing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Málaga was an accomplishment made by Manolo Rubia, who was then Unicaja of Málaga delegate. He phoned me and said: I have convinced Kareeem Abdul-Jabbar to come to the Campus! Manolo hired a Renault Space van and entrusted me with taking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Alhambra of Granada.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, mythical center of Los Angeles Lakers, 6 times Champion of the NBA, photographed by Mariano Pozo at the Alhambra of Granada.

Mariano Pozo with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

It was very imposing to know him. He´s rather a reserved man, but warm-hearted and polite.

How could you get the interview with Earvin Magic Johnson for Gigantes del Básket magazine?
My great friend Valdemaras Homicius played in 1993 in the Spirou of Charleroi Belgian team, and one day, while we were talking on the phone, he told me: ´ I will play against magic Johnson next week, because he´s coming to Belgium on a tour with a team of NBA players ´.

Therefore, I went to Belgium and visited Magic Johnson in the hotel where he was lodged with his squad and I interviewed him there. I also made him pictures during the match.

Earvin Magic Johnson defended by Valdemaras Homicius. Both the genius Los Angeles Lakers point guard (five times Champion of the NBA and deemed the best playmaker ever) and the great Lithuanian shooting guard (World Champion with USSR in the Cali World Cup 1982, Olympic Champion with USSR with USSR in Seoul 1988, Bronze Medal with Lithuania in Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games and European Champion of Natioanl Teams with USSR in Italy 1979 and Germany 1985), displayed a great show.

It was an unforgettable day. In that NBA squad there were historical players like Moses Malone, Kurt Rambis and George Gervin. In addition, the interview with Magic Johnson was rather forthright, calling a spade a spade.

Although he believes that Michael Jordan has been the best basketball player of all time, Mariano Pozo deems that from the standpoint of playing as a team Magic Johnson has arguably been the most important player in the history of this sport and Los Angeles Lakers during their five NBA rings with Kareeem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon, etc, the best squad of the Professional USA League hitherto.

What did Kurt Rambis provide in your opinion to Los Angeles Lakers throughout eighties?
He was a team player and the man carrying out the leading role regarding the ´dirty work´, fighting to the death for each ball and whose constant strenuous efforts enabled to oxygenate his teammates. His physical condition was formidable and played the four quarters of every game with identical performance from beginning to end.

His duels with Kevin McHale (power forward of Boston Celtics) were tremendous. Instilled with a huge courage, he was even able to slam dunk in your face on Darryl Dawkins in the sixth game of the 1982 NBA Finals against Philadelphia Seventy Sixers.

When did you meet Fernando Martín and which memories have you got of him?
I met him for the first time in Los Angeles (California) in December of 1986 during a game Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers played in the Forum of Inglewood for which I got a ticket. I was only eighteen years old and was in the house of some friends of mine living in San Diego. I was the only Spaniard attenting that match and went down to greet him after the end of the match.

Some years later, Javier Imbroda arranged the Mayoral marista Campus in Marbella and the guest star was Fernando Martín, whom I had to pick up in my small Opel Corsa car at Málaga airport. And from this second encounter we built a good friendship.

Unforgettable memories. Mayoral Marista Basketball Campus in Marbella. Fernando Martín, Mariano Pozo, Javier Imbroda, Mike Smith, Kim Costa and Pedro Ramírez (assistant coach of Javier Imbroda and later Unicaja coach).

Fernando Martín was a benchmark. An irrepeteable player and the first Spaniard who achieved to get into NBA, under very harsh conditions, in a time when to be able to arrive at the professional USA basketball from the European one was something considered almost chimeric.

He was the pioneer for the arrival at NBA throughout later years of Juan Carlos Calderón, Jorge Garbajosa, Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernández, Raúl López, Juan Carlos Navarro, Sergio Rodríguez, Mark Gasol, Ricky Rubio, etc.

Fernando Martínmeant a before and after in the History of Spanish Basketball, which was glimpsed in the World Cup of Cali 1982 where Spain beat USSR for the first time and definitely strengthened with the Silver Medal of Los Angeles 84.

He was a colossus under the hooks, a man featuring tons of physical power, battling hard in each game to win every loose ball, and provided both the Spanish national team and Real Madrid with a significant quality plus and brawn inside the paint in the center position, since he was a real beast of nature, with exceptional physical conditions.

But during eighties he was the first center in Europe and Dino Meneghin´s heir, being the only player who could stop the great Italian center under the hooks. In addition, Fernando Martín´s huge level playing as a center enabled Juan Antonio Corbalán, Nacho Solozábal and José Luis Llorente to have many more available choices in the tasks of playing distribution and creation with the Spanish team.

Watching Fernando Martín play has been one of the things which mostly have marked me in my life. He was also a great person.

What did the duels Fernando Martín-Audie Norris mean for basketball?
Mythical and magic moments who have remained forever in the visual memory of every basketball enthusiast.

The ferocity of the struggle was extreme, neither of them conceded even a centimeter to each other and these two players were seminal for the remarkable increase of television audience in this sport. Audie Norris wept buckets the day of Fernando Martín was buried after his car accident. Both of them greatly admired each other.

Which has been in your standpoint the relevance of Juan Antonio San Epifanio “Epi” in the evolution of Spanish and European basketball?
Likewise very important. Epi has been the historical flagship of Spanish forwards along with Emiliano Rodríguez, Wayne Brabender, Jordi Villacampa and Juan Carlos Navarro.

Epi was a pure 3 featuring an extraordinary medium and long distance shooting ability, unstoppable one on one, with an outstanding fighting spirit, and the duo he made up for many years with Chicho Sibilio was one of the main reasons of the definitive irruption of F.C. Barcelona as a steadily challenger to titles squad in national and international competitions alike, a side in which Real Madrid had clearly prevailed throughout the sixties and seventies.

From Epi and Sibilio, Spanish basketball had two clubs always striving for winning titles and some more clubs with chances have added to that goal as Unicaja of Málaga, Tau of Vitoria, etc.

On the other hand, Epi belonged to a wonderful generation of forwards not exceeding 2 meters high but delivering great quality, efficiency and elegance in their play, like Drazen Dalipagic, Mirza Delibasic (shooting guard), Dragan Kikanovic (shooting guard), Valdemaras Homicius, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Sergei Iovaisha, Tarakanov, Antonello Riva, Jordi Villacampa and others, who wrote glorious pages of the European basketball.

How can be explained the precision attained by Juan Carlos Navarro with such a difficult shot as his famous ´ bombs ´ thrown over centers exceeding 2,10 m height?
Through talent and tons of rehearsal. He has been doing it since 1999 when the Golden Boys of Lisbon 1999 (Pau Gasol, Felipe Reyes, Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos cabezas, Bernie Rodríguez, Germán Gabriel and Charlie Díaz de Aja as a coach) won the Junior World Basketball Championship against USA, another great deed of our basketball. Navarro masters that shot, he has done it hundreds of thousands of times and is very difficult to block-shot.

Juan Carlos Navarro penetrating into basket, defended by Ante Tomic and Kyle Singler during the Final of 2012 Spanish King´s Cup disputed by Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona.

What players would you highlight in the History of Unicaja?
Many of them. The list would be comprehensive: Dan Caldwell; 

Germán González (who played with caja de Ronda between 1984 and 1986, an outstanding 1, 89 m forward that was Champion of Korac Cup with Joventut of Badalona in 1981 and whose versatility and offensive resources allowed him to play at full level until being 37 years old), Mike Schulz (2,05 center, great rebounder and excellent attacker featuring a sensational hook shot and who played in Caja de Ronda during the 1985-86 season, though a conjunctivitis injury prevented him from playing at his best); Alfonso Reyes (one of the best centers in the history of Unicaja of Málaga, playing with the team between 1993 and 1997);

Ciudad Jardín Pavilion of Málaga. Instant in which Mike Smith flies towards the hook soaring over Paco Solsona. This was one of the most impressive slam dunks in the whole history of Spanish basketball and took place during the first All Star of First Division B. Throughout many years, Mike Smith and a helicopter called Essie Hollis were the best dunkers of the ACB League.

Mike Smith (the man displaying the incredible jumps and the most spectacular slam dunks ever seen in Málaga, who played in the Maristas of Málaga in 1ª B between 1986 and 1988, in the Mayoral Maristas between 1988 and 1990, and during the 1990-1991 season with the Caja de Ronda, making up with 

Ray Smith one of the most efficient pairs in the history of Spanish basketball);

Bernie Rodríguez, Carlos Cabezas, John Deveraux (who was a tremendous dunker);

Ralph Sampson (an NBA legend who played two months in Unicaja in 1992, but arrived physically highly handicapped because of a serious knee injury from which he hadn´t recovered and which hugely impaired his performance on the court); Gonzalo Sagi-Vela (a high quality and remarkably versatile shooting guard, who could play as a 1, 2 or even 3, excellent shooter and indefatigable fighter, very difficult to defend one on one, played in Unicaja between 1983 and 1985, having previously done in Estudiantes and Joventut of Badalona, of whose triumph in the Korac Cup 1981 beating Carrera of Venecia was one of the topmost pillars together with Germán González and Joe Galvin);

Quique Villalobos with Mariano Pozo during a match of the Spanish team played in eighties.

QuiqueVillalobos (played in Caja de Ronda between 1984 and 1986 and in Real Madrid between 1988 and 1992, 8 times international with Spain and a man with outstanding physical talent, very showy in his play and whose impressive slam dunks are still remembered);

Joe Arlauckas (one of the most gifted foreign players throughout Unicaja history, played in the Málaga based club between 1988 and 1990, being an American power forward featuring astounding jumping ability and extraordinary fundamentals, he has been one of the best basketball players in the history of ACB, managing to score 45 points in a match with Unicaja, and later he won a lot of titles with Tau Cerámica and Real Madrid, including an Euroleague in which he made up a lethal duo with Arvydas Sabonis); Valeri Tikhonenko (great 2,07 m Russian forward and one of the most important players in the USSR team during the second half of eighties and early nineties);

Sergei Babkov (tremendous Russian sniper, 1,92 m shotting guard able to score a three-pointer from any conceivable position, even with two defenders on him, played in Unicaja between 1994 and 1999, a full-fledged machine-gun, remarkable performer of the fastbreak and featuring an exceptional jumping ability often slam dunking frontally in your face on rival centers, his immense talent was one of the key factors in the second place in 1995-1996 ACB League in which Unicaja was about to win the title against F.C. Barcelona); 

Jorge Garbajosa (the most decisive player in both 2005 Spanish King´s Cup and 2005-2006 ACB League attained by Unicaja of Málaga, competitions in which he was named MVP, a 2,05 m all-around performer man, whose natural position is power forward but is able to play as a pure 3 thanks to his exceptional medium and long distance shots and even as a 5, has been one of the most important men in the Spanish basketball during the last ten years and a cornerstone in the Spanish team which won the Japan World Championship 2006 and the Eurobasket Poland 2009; and many others.

Do you use professional zooms or primes?
I usually work with the

Canon 24-105 mm f/4 L thanks to the great quality given by full frame digital reflex cameras at high isos.

Previously I used the 24-70 mm f/2.8 L.

I use rather often the Canon USM 70-200 f/2.8 L IS too.

And sometimes I use the Canon 15 mm f/2.8

for impact wideangle shots with great angle of coverage and depth of field; sometimes the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 for the nearest basket and the 300 mm f/2.8 L.

Are you in favour of continuous shooting mode or individual shots trying to anticipate to the action?
As I have made a lot of pictures with electronic flash in the ceiling, I do prefer the individual shot, though I sometimes use the continuous shooting choice. But as a rule, I´m more in favour of one shot than continuous. Besides, when you shoot in continuous mode, the best picture was often between every two shots.

Earl Calloway (Banca Cívica) making a layup after great jump in a match against Unicaja of Málaga during the Spanish King´s Cup 2012.

This was one of the most dramatic plays seen at the Athens Oaka Pavilion throughout the celebration of Euroleague Final Four 2007: Tremendous two-handed block-shot of Florent Pietrus on Fred House´s (TAU Vitoria) attempt of slam dunk.

Jiri Welsh finishing a counterattack with spectacular frontal slam dunk. Watch the huge stretching of the arm. 2007-2008 season.

Pablo Prigioni (TAU Vitoria) in a moment of rage during a match of the ACB League.

Sergio Scariolo commenting a play with the referee during the Euroleague Final Four 2007 held in Athens, with Unicaja of Málaga, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos and TAU of Vitoria as contenders.

Which are in your viewpoint the indispensable requirements to be a good basketball photographer?
There are some key factors. One of them, which has helped me a lot, is to have played this sport, because you grasp the game and so you can know and study the players, so as to be able to anticipate the action and realize for example a second before because of the look or a gesture made by the player if he´s going to make an alley-oop.

Which is in your standpoint the most difficult play to photograph in basketball?
The alley-oop, because the photographer is usually paying attention to the player handling the ball, and he has to be highly aware to capture the action, pressing the shutter release button of the camera to accurately depict both the flight and the slam dunk of the man who takes the ball at a great height and smashes the ball.
It isn´t easy to photograph a good threepointer with the player near your shooting angle, because you are often very covered, and in addition, because of the traits of this sport, referees must be near the action and is rather frequent and inevitable that they are in the middle of the photographer´s shooting trajectory.

That´s why the threepointers with 24 mm or even 15 mm wideangle are specially valuable and spectacular, since you get most of the court inside the frame. It´s a kind of shot that you´re bound to do very quickly, almost in an instinctive way, you haven´t got time to focus, but it doesn´t matter, because the great depth of field inherent to these extreme wideangle lenses enables you to achieve it.

Who has been for you the best European basketball player ever?
Arvydas Sabonis. His emergence in the position of center during mid eighties made a great stir in European and worldwide basketball alike.

Each and every of his capabilities turned him into a unique player. We were accustomed to very tall and bulky centers, men with intimidating qualities in defense, but whose attacking movements and technical fundamentals were most times limited because of their great height and weight.

But suddenly, Sabonis arrived with his height of 2,21 m and a weight of 130 kg, boasting impressive technical background and handling of the ball, the prowess of a forward and the brain of a playmaker. A giant all-around performer who did everything at top-notch level: He was the lord and master of the backboards, dominating the rebound, had an excellent movement of feet inside the zone, his medium and long distance shooting was first-rate, has been the best assisting center of all time including NBA, his intimidating capability was huge and he made block-shots even on the best NBA centers like David Robinson.

He was a world class basketball player, both defensively and offensively.

Furthermore, it´s important to bear in mind that Arvydas Sabonis was a very well trained man since his early youth, with a starting role as a forward. As a matter of fact, when he went to the Basketball World Championship of Cali 1982 being only seventeen years old, he played some minutes as a pure 3 and learned very much from Anatoly Myshkin.

His induction in 2011 in the NBA Hall of Fame in a ceremony presided by Bill Walton became the recognition to Arvydas Sabonis as one of the best centers in the whole history of the reference class professional basketball league in the world.

And the best player in NBA History?
Michael Jordan. I think that he has been the greatest ever along with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Since he was a teenager, Mariano Pozo has been an avid purchaser and collector of basketball specialized magazines, both national and foreign ones. In this image he can be seen reading a highly valuable item kept in mint condition: the Petersen´s Preview 1990-1991 NBA Pro Basketball which he bought in United States twenty-three years ago.

But Michael Jordan has been the most complete and versatile player hitherto, boasting physical conditions unmatches in the whole history of NBA, and he knew how to evolve from resolving the plays by himself using his boundless resources and brutal leaping ability to team player who made his Chicago Bulls teammates greater, marking an epoch in NBA with them, winning six rings and being nothing less than 6 times MVP of NBA Finals and ten years Top Scorer of the competition. Those statistics speak by themselves. 

He´s undoubtedly been the best attacker in all the history of this sport and his great spirit of sacrifice enabled him to be Best NBA defender in 1988.

Nevertheless, Jordan has always said that his reference player is Julius Erving.

What did in your opinion mean the arrival of Drazen Petrovic at European basketball with the Cibona of Zagreb?
Drazen Petrovic has been along with Sabonis, Pau Gasol and Cresimir Cosic the best European player ever.

He was a kind of Basketball Mozart who could play as a playmaker or shooting guard, with an exceptional accuracy in his medium and long distance shots, from every location on the court, up to a distance of around 9 meters.

He has been one of the best shooters in the history of this sport, including NBA. He made the most difficult things with unbelievable elegance and coordination, he knew to read the tempos of the games at every moment, took the responsibility in the key moments, was an authentic killer relishing during the crunch time in the instants of maximum stress and was a born winner playing with stunning intensity and desire for victory.

He was a formidable scoring machine, a great distributor of the playing and exceedingly good penetrator into basket with a highly comprehensive range of feigns.

Moreover, he was also a tremendous hard worker and in every squad he played he always got up at six o´clock in the morning to train and throw 1,000 or more threepointers. 

That Cibona of Zagreb with Alexandr Petrovic, Drazen Petrovic, Svieticanin, Zoran Cutura, Mihovil Nakic, Sven Usic and Franco Arapovic scored everything they threw. He won two Euroleague Cups and two European Cups with the Cibona and one European Cup with Real Madrid, aside from many other titles in Croatia and Spain.

His immense talent and inexhaustible wish to improve took him to the NBA, where after a first adaptation year with Portland Trail Blazers, he was hired by New Jersey Nets, where he exploded and became one of the foremost shooting guards of the competition, making a lot of historical performances, as the one on January 24,1993, in which he scored 44 points to Hakeem Olajuwon´s Houston Rockets.

The car accident that cost his life in Germany in 1993 plunged the good basketball enthusiasts into the deepest mourning. His ceremony of induction within the NBA Hall of Fame on September 25, 2002, with speech delivered by Willis Reed and presence of Biserka Petrovic, Drazen´s mother, and his brother Alexandr, was hugely touching.

You have kept a great friendship with Reyes family for many years. What significance do you think Reyes brothers have had in Spanish basketball regarding center position?
Both Alfonso and Felipe have been very good friends of mine since I was very young. 

I´ve got a great respect for their family and as to the basketball domain, what both of them have made is highly praiseworthy, because they´re not very tall men for the location where they play, but their awesome courage, experience, knowledge of the sport, reading of the zone , skill to get the position and tons of training hours have enabled them to capture plenty of reabounds, once and again, before much taller men throughout their career.

It´s very important to bear in mind that Alfonso Reyes and Felipe Reyes belong to that breed of centers highly loved by fans and whose maximum representative was in Spain the mythical center of  Estudiantes John Pinone, who with a height of only 2, 02 m was able to beat much taller centers under the backboards.
Alfonso Reyes learned very much from John Pinone, who greatly was his teacher.

Later on, his brother Felipe 

has kept on reaping great accomplishments, both in Estudiantes and Real Madrid, turning into one of the best rebounders of international basketball. Felipe Reyes was one of the key factors in the Basketball World Cup 2006 held in Japan and won by Spain.

What meant for you the bestowing of the ACB Golden Insignia in 2008 by Eduardo Portela, as a recognition to your 25 years working as a professional photographer of élite basketball?

It was a great honour for me, and I am hugely grateful to them. The fact that the best basketball league in the world after the NBA thought of me was something overwhelming for me and I became so thrilled that I wouldn´t be able to express with words what I felt. That was the happiest day in my life, and besides

Day of the granting of ACB Golden Insignia 2008 by Eduardo Portela (in the center) to different journalists specialized in basketball : Vicente Salaner (El Mundo S. XXI), Paco Rengel (, Manuel Saucedo (Marca), Paco Torres (Gigantes del Basket), Martín Tello (Diario As), Siro López (Telemadrid), Chema Forte and Ramón Trecet (RNE), Juan Manuel Gozalo and Paco García Caridad (Radio Marca) and Mariano Pozo (Unicaja of Málaga Basketball Club). Third from the left can also be seen José Luis Llorente.

I was surrounded by great professionals of sporting media whom I´ve always admired.

You have kept a great friendship with Juan Antonio Corbalán for many years. What influence do you think he had in the position of point guard and the definitive take-off of Spanish basketball at an international level in mid eighties?

Undoubtedly decisive. Juan Antonio Corbalán has been one of the greatest guards Europe has yielded and in my viewpoint the benchmark during the first half of eighties, and has been one of the flagships of a very special breed of playmakers featuring impressive class, speed and character who played during the second half of seventies and eighties, embodied by himself, Pier Luigi Marzoratti and Zoran Slavnic, who took over from Zurab Sakandelidze, Stanislav Eremin, Sergei Belov and Nino Buscató.

Hubie Brown (legendary NBA coach), Juan Antonio Corbalán and Mariano Pozo during a Basketball Campus organized in Málaga.

Juan Antonio Corbalán was and goes on being a role model, both as a sportsman and as a person and following him arrived great guards given by this sport in Spain: Gonzalo-Sagivela, Nacho Solozábal, Vicente Gil, José Luis Llorente, Kim Costa, Antúnez and others.

Corbalán was a highly charismatic man and outstanding point guard who made his teammates improve. He featured great physical conditions, a remarkable speed in the fastbreak, and was rather decisive in the crunch time of the games, in which he used to be determining. He was also a key factor in the Silver Medal attained by Spain in Los Angeles 1984 Olympic games, along with his legendary matches with Real Madrid. He won 14 Leagues, 7 King´s Cups, 3 Euroleagues, 1 European Cup, 1 Korac Cup, 4 Intercontinental Cups and a Silver Medal in Los Angeles 84. It´s a background speaking by itself.

In addition, he made up what has probably been the best couple of guards in the history of European basketball when he played with the genius of geniuses Carmelo Cabrera.

Manolo Rubia has been Unicaja of Málaga delegate since 1988 and is currently the Sporting Director of the club, as well as having been delegate of the Spanish national team since 2001. What´s your opinion about his career path in Unicaja?
Manolo Rubia is a leading  figure in Unicaja and certainly one of the substantial factors in the achievement of the major titles conquered by the team, both national and international ones. 

He´s been a humble and self-made man since he had to leave Jimena de la Frontera, his hometown. He´s got a great knowledge of the players, their psychological profile, their virtues and weaknesses, and since his arrival at Caja de Ronda in 1988 when the squad was coached by Mario Pesquera, he´s turned into an indispensable man, because of his amazing working capacity and his gift to solve problems, his steady effort to help and understand the players, his thousands and thousands of kilometers made all over the world during his trips (above all to United States) looking for the best possible future players for Unicaja. His agenda is always ready, with reserve options.

Moreover, he´s a great professional who through a lot of sacrifices and toil of many years, has managed to get very important contacts both in United States Basketball (NBA and NCAA) and in Europe (in different countries of FIBA scope). 

He´s likewise proved to excel carrying out difficult operations with top-notch level players who were in the agenda of other more powerful clubs but chose to come to Unicaja because of their trust in Manolo Rubia.
To name only an example, Manolo Rubia was instrumental in the emergence and success of Joe Arlauckas in the Spanish basketball when he arrived at Caja de Ronda in 1988, coming from the Italian Juvecaserta, being only 21 years old and began his adaptation to ACB period. 

Manolo Rubia noticed the huge basketball potential of this player and was constantly with Arlauckas during that stage, showing him the city of Málaga and even inviting him to have dinner many nights in company of his wife Carmina, who was pregnant.

In 1989 and 1990, Detroit Pistons won two consecutive NBA championships with a tremendous defense. What players would you highlight in that team?
Chuck Daly´s Detroit Pistons have arguably been the squad with largest bench depth in NBA history, because the starting line-up made up by Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Mark Aguirre, Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer was complemented by top-drawer reserve players like Microwave Vinnie Johnson, John Salley, Rick Mahorn, James Edwards …

And their defense has undoubtedly been the best in NBA history, which speaks volumes of Chuck Daly, a great coach with fame of hard play and defensive mentality, but whose mastery and exceedingly deep knowledge of the game enabled him to run the wonderful United States Dream Team of Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, conferring it an attacking and eye-catching play mentality.

But that Detroit Pistons team which won two rings had a great talent. It wasn´t only the defense in which excelled above all Joe Dumars (excellent defensive guard with qualities in this regard similar to Sidney Moncrief – playmaker of Milwaukee Bucks and the best 1 of NBA in such side then-), John Salley (putting a lot of block-shots per game) and very specially Dennis Rodman (best defender and rebounder in the world at those moments) which made them win the matches, but their great balance as a squad, for they had also extraordinary attacking players like

Isiah Thomas (then the best NBA guard after Magic Johnson), Joe Dumars (great threepointer shooter), Microwave Vinnie Johnson (with a brutal jumping capability and able to do medium and long distance shots in the decisive moments), James Edwards (2,16 m center developing with very good movements inside the paint and excellent turning jumpers up to five meters) and Bill Laimbeer who as well as permanently battling in defense had good accuracy with threepointers in spite of his height and weight (2,11 m and 112 kg).

Whis was in your standpoint Jerry West significance regarding the evolution of NBA such as we know it currently?
Jerry West was one of the greatest players in NBA history, and his amazing performances as a top-notch shooting guard with Los Angeles Lakers during sixties and first half of seventies anticipated in twenty years what would be the élite basketball both in NBA and FIBA.

Jerry West with Zan Tabak shortly before the beginning of an ACB League match at the José María Martín Carpena Sporting Palace of Málaga.

Jerry West was an extraordinary attacking player who steadily knew how to get shooting positions thanks to his excellent speed, dribbling and bound of ball at full speed, and the accuracy of his medium and long distance shots was incredible, from every location on the court and even with his defender stuck to him. 

He was a pioneer as to the future role and performances of shooting guards in the game, and from that moment on, there would be the emergence during late seventies and early eighties of such exceedingly gifted shooting guards as Dragan Kikanovic, Mirza Delibasic, Antonello Riva, Valdemaras Homicius, Sarunas Marciulonis ...

Besides, Jerry West has arguably been the most decisive player in crunch time ever together with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, without forgetting his great role as Los Angeles Lakers General Manager, a side in which he proved to be a wise selector in the draft, managing to do that the Californian franchise won four NBA rings in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988, accomplishments which he would prolongue throughout the nineties thanks to his negotiations enabling to hire Kobe Bryant in 1996 and Shaquille O´Neal as a free agent, setting up the grounds for the team that would win three-peat titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Which has been in your viewpoint the relevance of Nacho Rodríguez as a guard of Unicaja and F.C. Barcelona?
Very significant, Nacho has been, is and will be one of the flagships in the history of Unicaja of Málaga, with which he has written some of its most glorious pages.

I have known Nacho Rodríguez since he was a child, before year 1988 when he began playing in Mayoral Maristas, and I´ve seen him grow up as a player in children´s, cadet and young categories.

A great playmaker who has always given his utmost in the teams he has played. An example of sportsmanship and courage, and in my standpoint one of the guards featuring a highest fighting spirit in the Spanish basketball, a man with immense heart who went always all-out on the court and supported arduously his teammates.

Furthermore, Nacho Rodríguez has been one of the best defenders of ACB League throughout his professional career, exerting pressure on a number of the top-of-the-line players who have gone through Spain like Sasha Georgevic, Chichi Creus and many others.

He played ten years in Unicaja of Málaga and six in F.C.Barcelona,

with which he won 4 ACB Leagues, two Spanish King´s Cups, one Korac Cup and one Euroleague, having also been Silver Medal in the France Eurobasket 1999.

What did Nate Davis arrival at the Spanish basketball in 1979?
An authentic revolution. In that time NBA was for Europe a rather inaccessible world, and in Spain there were only some Super 8 mm films brought by some coaches, but when Nate Davis started to do his tremendous jumps, his stunning plays and his famous slam dunks after alley-oops he provided the Spanish basketball with a style and level of playing more inherent to NBA and imbued the love for basketball to many children and boys of that time who had the chance to watch him play.

Thirty years later, all those hundreds of thousands of people haven´t forgotten him and have him in their most beloved memories, taking him in their hearts.

The fantastic plays made by Nate Davis with Askatuak, Miñón Valladolid, Oar of Ferrol and Clesa Ferrol were a turning point in the History of Spanish Basketball. 

Furthermore, he was three times Professional Spanish League Top Scorer in the three different teams he played, something unmatched hitherto and his wonderful deeds in Miñón Valladolid with Carmelo Cabrera finished in amazing slam dunks after alley-oop are within the cream of the crop of Spanish and European basketball ever.

Not in vain, he was known in Spain as Nate Davis E.T.

Pau Gasol has won two NBA rings with Los Angeles Lakers hitherto. Do you think he´s got any chances to win a third one?
Of course. PauGasol is the best Spanish basketball player ever and the best European power-forward in history, boasting exceptional movements for his height of  2, 16 m, both playing as 4 and 5.

Pau Gasol throwing a hook against the block-shot attempt of Boniface Ndong during the match corresponding to the NBA Europe Live Tour held on October 9, 2007 in the Sports Palace José María Martín Carpena of Málaga between Unicaja and NBA Memphis Grizzlies, in which the squad from Málaga prevailed 102-99.

What Gasol has made deserves high accolades, since his starting basketball position throughout his juvenile period was as a forward, but on growing up very much he evolved to powe-forward, which is the role he usually performed even during the Junior World Championship of Lisbon 1999 won by Spain. Pau Gasol played as 4 and even 3, while the pure 5 was Germán Gabriel.

During his stage in F.C. Barcelona he played both as a center and power forward and nobody could stop him, so he went to NBA.

He´s a man having his feet firmly on the ground. In Memphis Grizzlies he made some impressive plays, like his famous slam dunk on Kevin Garnett, and after his arrival at the NBA he became the team franchise player along with Kobe Bryant.

Pau Gasol has performed at a great level both in Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers, playing as a power forward and center alike, and has had to often face the strongest centers in NBA.

Along with Kobe Bryant, Gasol has been by far the Los Angeles Lakers most decisive player during the last years, his help being an utterly key factor in the two conquered NBA rings during 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons, an incredible exploit, because that has been the figure of titles won by such NBA legends as Isiah Thomas, Hakeem Olajuwon or LeBron James.

What did the Jugoplastika of Split winner of three Euroleagues in 1989, 1990 and 1991 mean in your opinion for the evolution of European basketball?
That historical team had a great influence. They were a basketball machine run in two of the Euroleagues they won by Bozidar Maljkovic, one of the best European coaches ever. 

They were an NBA level squad: Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja, Zoran Savic, Dusko Ivanovic, Sretenovic, Zan Tabak, from a very small country which features a remarkable basketball tradition. 

Three players from that team (Kukoc, Radja and Tabak) managed to play in NBA at a very good level, and in this regard, the Jugoplastika was a turning point from which the NBA realized that European basketball was approaching them, and the quantity of European players hired by NBA increased significantly.

Which influence do you think Bozidar Maljkovic had during his tenure as a coach of Unicaja of Málaga between 1999 and 2003?
Very big. He left his footprint in the club, and with him at the helm of the team, Unicaja of Málaga won the 2000-2001 Korac Cup, as well as qualifying the squad for Euroleague during two consecutive years, also getting the second post in the ACB League 2002.

It all was highly praiseworthy, because throughout the four years Maljkovic held the reins of Unicaja of Málaga, the Real Madrid, F.C. Barcelona and Tau Vitoria were very strong and had more powerful teams.

In June 1992 you met Hakeem Olajuwon during his visit to the Summer Campus organized by Mario Pesquera in Costa del Sol. What remembrances have you got of him?
That was unforgettable. The sheer fact that a player like him, twice NBA Champion with Houston Rockets, visited Málaga, was quite an event and the expectation was at fever pitch. The illusion of young boys on seeing him was unutterable.

His movements of feet inside the zone and his jumping ability were incredible for such a tall and heavy man. I do believe that from a technical viewpoint he´s been the best center in NBA history together with Arvydas Sabonis, and he was the main architect of the two consecutive NBA rings won by Houston Rockets during 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons against New York Knicks and Orlando Magic respectively, turning into the archetype of dominating center, featuring a great both intimidating (he often put four or five block-shots per game) and scoring capability, with extraordinary offensive movements complemented by his virtually unstoppable famous fadeaway jumping shots. 

And from a defensive viewpoint he was also a prodigy able to curb the best rival centers and power forwards. 

Besides, his astounding speed and energy enabled him even to sometimes defend the rival guards if the circumstances of the match required it, such as happened when he block-shot New York Knicks guard John Starks shot in the last second of the sixth game of 1993-94 NBA Finals, doing one of the best defensive plays in NBA history.

Mariano Pozo at the Palace Hotel of Madrid, showing some of the many covers he has made throughout his career as a professional basketball photographer with images made by him in specialized magazines and sporting newspapers like Nuevo Basket, Gigantes del Basket and Diario As.

How many books have you published till now?
Five. Three on basketball, with pictures made by me: Seventeen Years Under the Hook published in 2000 with a prologue by Martín Tello, 30 Years of Illusions of Unicaja of Málaga published in 2008 with a prologue by Braulio Medel, President of Unicaja, ACB 25 Years of Images published in 2009 (in which I collaborated with photographs of my own along with other six Spanish sporting photographers and which encompasses 600 images) and two further books which are solidarity projects with images: India, An Inner Look and Mozambique In Memoriam.

Mariano Pozo at the great hall of the Palace Hotel in Madrid on November 17, 2013 showing all the books he has published hitherto.

Mariano Pozo in one of the stairs of Palace Hotel in Madrid, showing the two solidarity projects books he has published until now: Mozambique In Memoriam and India: An Inner Look.

Homage to all the coaches in the History of Unicaja of Málaga. 2007-2008 season. Men like Alfonso Queipo, José María Martín Urbano, Damián Caneda, Ramón Guadiola, Moncho Monsalve, Ignacio Pinedo, Arturo Ortega, Zoran Slavnic, Mario Pesquera, Javier Imbroda, Pedro Ramírez, Bozidar Maljkovic, Paco Alonso, Chechu Mulero, Sergio Scariolo, Aíto García Reneses, Joan Plaza … have made the cherished basketball team from Málaga great.

Bernie Rodríguez, captain of the team during 12 years, between 2000 and 2012 and a player made in the young categories of the club since he was 8 years old, has taken part in every title won by the squad and is the player having disputed most games with Unicaja of Málaga shirts: 683 official matches with a total figure of 14,326 minutes, and his number 5 shirt was retired in 2012 as a homage to his sporting career. His spunk and fight to exhaustion have symbolized Unicaja of Málaga philosophy for many years, strongly imbued by DNA from both Caja de Ronda and Mayoral Maristas, who during the 1987-88 season and coached by Javier Imbroda achieved what seemed to be impossible: to take a school team to the élite.

Which would be your greatest desire in future regarding Unicaja of Málaga?
Undoubtedly to win the Euroleague. Unicaja has won

Bernie Rodríguez and Carlos Cabezas kiss the Trophy of ACB League 2005-2006 brilliantly conquered by Unicaja of Málaga.

one ACB League(2005-2006),

Elated players of Unicaja of Málaga after winning 76-80 the Spanish King´s Cup disputed in Zaragoza against Real Madrid, with a great Jorge Garbajosa who scored 17 points (in the same way as J.R.Bremer) and was elected MVP of the Match.

Bernie Rodríguez, captain of Unicaja of Málaga, with the Trophy of Spanish King´s Cup 2005 conquered in Zaragoza, next to Braulio Medel, President of the Club.

One SpanishKing´s Cup (2005) and one

Trophy of Korac Cup won in 2001 by Unicaja of Málaga against KK Hemofarm of Vrsac (Yogoslavia), with a great victory 77-47 in the first game held in Málaga and a new triumph in the return match, with an excellent tactical scheme conceived by Bozidar Maljkovic who chose to leave Veljko Mrsic in the bench during the first half and use the trio Bernie Rodríguez-Juan Carlos Cabezas-Sonko devoted to pressing defense tasks and control the timing of the game, while the scoring was mostly carried out by the center Danya Abrams, who was highly accurate in his field percentages.

Copa Korac (2001).

After winningF.C.Barcelona 67-64 in a very hard match, the team qualified for the EuroleagueFinal Four 2007 at Athens with CSKA Moscow, TAU Vitoria and Panathinaikos. Unicaja was beaten by CSKA, with a great Carlos Cabezas scoring 13 points, but the Russian team was too strong, and Trajan Langdon, David Andersen and Papaloukas scored a total of 40 points which were decisive in the final defeat 50-62, and after it, Unicaja of Málaga won the match for third post against TAU of Vitoria. This European bronze had the taste of glory, after a highly disputed match with TAU, with great performances of Tusek (18 points), Marcus Brown (14 points) and Carlos Jiménez (10 points), who was decided in the last second with a penetration of Marcus Brown.

But I do believe that Unicaja of Málaga needs that title, which is the most important of all the ones played in Europe and it would hugely thrill our fans, who have been supporting the team for a lot of years since and loving this wonderful sport.