His imposing physique shows that his position is near the hoop. This player has no lack of abilities and in his only season in the ACB he was number one in blocks. After his time with the Brose Baskets, Slaughter returns to the second-best league in the world and wears spotless white. An inside reinforcement for Laso´s team, he arrives with the intention of standing out. His speed is adapted to a collective game and his individual qualities can contribute in a big way to putting his stamp on the white players. Upon his arrival Slaughter let it be known that he is hungry: “I have arrived in a club with a tradition of winning and I want to continue that and to reap rewards”.
You have played in Turkey, Germany, Israel, France and now return to Spain with the greatest team in Europe. You are going to be enthusiastic about this new challenge…
I´m looking forward to playing here. I know that this is the greatest club , it is a huge institution. I am ready. I have worked hard all summer and last year also. I am motivated.
The ACB is not new to you. You played in the ACB League in Valladolid, where you were one of the highest-rated players in the competition. But this time, you are returning to the Spanish championship with a club which is going for the title…
Yes. I am thrilled, ready and prepared for this. It is a huge opportunity to demonstrate the sort of player I am on an even bigger screen.
You have a lot of experience. You have played in the Euroleague with Brose Baskets, and you were the sixth-highest rated player in the regular phase. Do you expect to grow as a player here, in Real Madrid?
Last season was the first time I had a taste of victory. I won the German league with the Brose Baskets. The sensation of winning a title is tremendous, it can´t be described. Now I have arrived in a club with a tradition of winning and I want to keep winning and notching up victories. I am very enthusiastic about this.
When only 11 years old you had to get over the death of your brother Jemall, an up-and-coming star of college basketball. How has that influenced your career?
For a kid growing up without his older brother was difficult. I took a long time getting back into basketball. I didn´t want to play for that reason, but I wanted to live out the dreams that he didn´t have the opportunity to achieve. Now I am bringing back his name; people remember him and I can show him my gratitude on the court and express how much he meant to me. This gives me more motivation each day.
When you visited the court of Real Madrid with Valladolid, the white team presented you with a shirt with his name and the number 44 which carries his memory… a gesture you will surely remember always.
Yes, for sure. That was a surprise. It happened when we were warming-up and I was concentrating on the game. They took me to one side and all my adrenaline was focused on the basketball and at that moment it all came out. I was almost crying before the game, I couldn´t believe it... the shirt. The fans liked it too. I felt such a happiness that I can´t describe it. And after that, we had a game to play, so I had to get my concentration back to basketball. It was difficult, but I loved what Real Madrid did for me that day. It meant a lot to my family and to me.
Did you ever think that you would end up playing for Real Madrid?
It was strange because I returned to Valladolid with the shirt and I put it on my bed, I looked at it, I studied the Adidas logos and I thought how great it would be to have my name on that shirt. And two years later, here I am with the team. It is a blessing from God. It has always been that way in all my career and it is incredible to be here.
Let´s speak about Pablo Laso´s men. Who stands out for you? Do you know any of them?
I know some players, because I played against them two years ago in the League. But now I have only been here a few days, I need time to get to know them collectively and to be together. There are still many players who are not here, because they were in the Olympic Games. I don´t know them all personally, but I do know the style of game of the coach with a very fast rhythm, speed… I´m really looking forward to starting to play.
You know that the team won the Copa del Rey last year; What is your style of play and what can we expect from you this season?
The main thing I can bring is energy, hard work, rebounds, blocks... I put a lot of energy into every aspect of a game, above all in defense, which is my strong point. I hope to prove that I can be a big help to the team in defense.
What are your personal objectives?
Helping the team to win. The statistics speak for themselves when hard work is done. I never think about the statistics I need for a season, the overall situation is more important and how we play as a team. That is what makes me feel good.
Real Madrid has fans all over the world strongly supporting the team and there is no doubt that they are waiting for you with great enthusiasm. What message do you have for them?
It´s official! For all those who were asking me “Is it official?” every day on Twitter and “Are you coming?” Well, I´m finally here. I´m looking forward to starting the season and winning plenty of games.