INTERVIEW | 04/02/2019 | Edu Bueno | PHOTOGRAPHER: Pedro CastilloThe captain became the league's all-time highest appearance-maker in the game against Unicaja (779).
Felipe Reyes is now the league's highest all-time appearance-maker across the ACB and National League eras after bringing up his 779th appearance against Unicaja and eclipsing Joan Creus's tally. This represents another landmark for Spanish basketball's Mr record breaker. The Real Madrid captain sat down with Realmadrid.com and Realmadrid TV to reflect on his career journey: "Being happy on and off the court and enjoying myself are the keys to continuing to perform at this level".
779 league appearances and another record for your collection…
I'm happy to have reached this figure and to have surpassed the great Joan Creus and to have spent so long in a league as strong as the ACB. I'll continue to work hard and take things one game at a time to try and build on this tally. I'm really satisfied to have reached this point and anything else now is a bonus.
Twenty-one seasons in the ACB and 16 at Real Madrid... What are the keys to staying at the time for so long?
Getting luck with injuries, working hard every day and always give your best in every match and training session. Being happy on and off the court and enjoying myself are the keys to continuing to perform at this level
You made your Real Madrid debut in a league game on 3 October 2004 against your former team. What was that day like for you?
It was a special game. I had just badly sprained my ankle and I only just returned to fitness in time. I wanted to play because it was my first league game with Real Madrid and particularly because it was against my old team.
In your first season you played under Maljkovic and had Herreros, Bullock and Bennett as teammates, amongst others. What memories do you have of that year?
It was a new team and whenever you arrive somewhere new, it always take a bit of time to adapt. I struggled a bit at the start, but thanks to my teammates' my adaptation was made easier and I soon felt very comfortable.
In that 2004/05 season, you lifted the first of our six league crowns. That was the year of the epic final against Baskonia and the trey from Herreros...
It was a very special season, I won my first league title as a professional and what's more it came in my first year. I was signed to try and bring about an upturn in the club's fortunes and that 2005 league title was very important for everyone. We won in Vitoria and the way we clinched victory, with Herreros's triple, was very special. That was perhaps the most special title of my whole career.
By the 2006/07 season you had become a leader at Real Madrid, pacing the team to the league title, scooping the MVP award in the final and making the top starting 5. You also started to receive individual accolades...
Everything went smoothly right from the off in that season. Joan Plaza joined and as well as winning the league, we won the ULEB. On a personal level, I had a great season and it's one of those years that I'll always remember.
In that season, you shared the locker room with Llull. You've now been together for 13 seasons and are now both Real Madrid captains.
He joined during the playoffs, he was a young lad, with great joy and a real desire to progress. As the years have passed, we've seen just what a fine player he is. It's no mean feet to have spent 13 season together at Real Madrid and I'm really pleased that we've been able to share in so many experiences and won so many titles together. However, we're still raring to continue to achieve many more things together.
From the 2012/13 season and now with Laso in charge, you restored your league dominance by winning the title four times in six years.
Since his appointment, we started winning titles with greater consistency because before then we'd struggled. Under him, basketball took on greater importance. His status as a former player was also important and this all played its part in seeing the team secure so many titles in recent years. We're very proud to be able to build on Real Madrid's trophy haul and here's hoping that we continue to do so.
What did Laso's arrival mean for the team and what aspects would you pick out in terms of him as a coach?
He was a player before he became a coach and he therefore knows exactly what the players need. He's demanding when he needs to be, but without going over the top, as happens with other coaches. In a season with so many games and that's so demanding it wouldn't have been possible to reach the end of the season in good shape if that wasn't the case. He's a great coach and we feel really comfortable under him.
Of the last four league titles under Laso, which one would you pick out?
All of the title wins are special and it's difficult to pick just one out, but it's true that the year in which we won all five titles was different because it's what allowed us to then win it all.