Audie Norris greeting the supporters at the Palau / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

He was one of the most charismatic foreign players in the history of Barça Regal. He defended the Barça colours with his enormous physical stature and his technical skill from 1987 to 1993. This Wednesday, coinciding with the Barça-Galatasaray match, he was at the Palau; when the fans recognized him they game him a standing ovation. “I was on the brink of crying,” said Norris.

You have always had a special connection with Barça supporters

The truth is that I really wanted to see them again. They were as loving as ever. I’m very happy to be here. I miss them more than they know. They always supported me and I’ll never forget it.

How’s your visit to Barça going?

Great! Every time I come to Barcelona I have a good time. I carry the city and Barça in my heart. I was here for six marvellous years.

Don’t you have a dinner planned with other famous Club players?

Yes, I’m excited to see my friends again, my ex-teammates. I’ll see Solozábal, Epi, Jiménez, Crespo, Galilea, Esteller, Flores, etc. That’s my ex-team!

Do you follow Barça Regal from the USA?

Of course! I follow basketball in general and Barça Regal in particular. You can watch quite a few games online and every time I see Barça I feel closer.

What do you think of this current team?

That they are one of the best teams in Europe. They have a good roster with great players in all positions. I’m particularly interested in watching the tall players. I watch them a lot. In the USA I have a school for younger players, we admit players from 18 to 20 years old that want to go to university, I try to teach them how to move their feet correctly. With that said, I’d like to return and train here.

Has basketball evolved since you retired?

Evidently. From my point of view I see basketball more conducive to exterior players. There are a lot of movements and specific plays for these types of payers. The interior game has evolved as well, it’s moved away from the basket and I didn’t play like that.

How so?

There aren’t as many players that finish the play with their back to the basket. There aren’t as many of movements with your feet, and for this reason I believe tall players are very important. In the US we call it ‘footwork.’

Can you give me a good example of a player that has good ‘footwork’?

One you all know: Marc Gasol. In the NBA there are others like him, for example, Kevin Garnett. I’ve seen a few ACB games, but I’m not brave enough to say a specific name.

We all remember you for your duels with Farnando Martín.

A lot of people remind me of those duels. I have to admit that I finished a lot of those games pretty beat physically. Exhausted. But I think I helped the sport grow in Spain.

How are you doing physically?

Very well! Look at me (he smiles). I can lead a completely normal life but I cannot play basketball, eh! (smiles again).

Thank you and see you soon!

Thank all of you. A big hug for all the Barça supporters