Having recently passed the symbolic bar of 1,000 games in the NBA (regular season + Playoffs), Nicolas Batum has been able to bounce back with the Clippers in recent years when he was at the bottom of the hole at the end of his Hornets period. A period he has not forgotten, a period during which the critics kept falling. Especially in France.
Two or three years ago, when he no longer fit into the plans of the Charlotte Hornets, Nicolas Batum did not imagine himself in such a position. “Play real minutes and have a role with a contender? No. I was thinking more about retirement.”
Yes, retirement. Downright.
This shows how Nicolas Batum was at the bottom of the hole with the Hornets. Subscribing to the bench, considered one of the most overpaid players in the NBA, in the midst of a crisis of confidence and having to face old demons, Nico no longer saw a future in basketball, at least as a than a player. But the hardest part of it all was the wave of criticism coming directly from France (via Clutch Points).
“It was talked about a lot, especially in France. That’s what hurt me the most. What people said about me in France.
The media, the fans, and even people in French basketball said that I no longer had the level to play for the national team or in the French championship. So I thought to myself, ‘should I retire?’ I was 31 years old.”
“That’s what hurt me the most: What people said back home in France. Some people said I wasn’t even good enough to play in the French league or on the national team anymore.”
Nicolas Batum is now flourishing with the Clippers.https://t.co/DgKlEMGtSd
—Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 23, 2022
On January 24, 2020, Nico Batum was precisely in France for the NBA Paris Game between the Hornets and the Bucks. This experience will remain as a memorable memory for him, but it also represents the very last appearance of Nicolas with Charlotte. Cut by the Hornets on November 21, 2020 while he “was cleaning his son’s toy cars in the living room”, Batum then found himself without a team, in total limbo. Except that very quickly, Nico realized that he still had the rating among some title contenders, seduced by the versatility and intelligence of the game that have always characterized him.
The rest, we know: an individual rebirth at the Clippers, and great adventures with the French team marked of course by a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics and his legendary counter against Slovenia.
Today, Nicolas Batum savors every moment on the court. His ultimate goal? It is obviously to win his first NBA title alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George at the Clippers. But above all, he wants to complete his career on his own terms.
“After what happened in Charlotte, I promised myself one thing: ‘I will do whatever it takes to be able to retire as I wish.’ It’s my mentality. I will continue to work. You’re going to have to kick me to free me. Good luck. »
Text source: Clutch Points, Los Angeles Times