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Bowen vs Kobe Bryant.

Bruce Bowen retired from the NBA in 2009 at the San Antonio Spurs. He won the championship three times with the Texans and was famed for shooting threes and being one of the finest defenders in the game. Bowen now works for NBA and as a commentator on ESPN. He spoke about this and much more on Barça TV and fcbarcelona.cat, where he also gave his views of the game as it is played in Europe and Spain, where he is particularly impressed by FC Barcelona Regal, the side that faces the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

-Do you like Barcelona? And soccer?

-I love it! The food, the culture … everything! Soccer is incredible here, it’s much faster than our football. And Barça has great players like Messi, it’s a great team.

-You have been here for a few days, what are you doing?

-I have been explaining different things about the NBA, because there’s a game here soon between the Mavericks and Barça Regal. The Mavericks team has changed, it’s not the same one that won the ring two years ago, but they still have Dirk Nowitzki, a talented player, and alongside him men like OJ Mayo, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion, which makes for an interesting team. I think it’ll be a good game, but Barça will have a chance to win.

-What do the people in the US think about these preseason games against European teams?

-They’re like play-offs, everyone thinks the NBA is the best league in the world, and for such a well organised team like Barça, it’s very important to get to play against teams from the NBA, because if they win these games, they’ll believe they are capable of winning things like the Euroleague.

-Do you watch Barça Regal against other European teams? What do you think about these teams?

-I have a high opinion of the teams from here. I understand why coaches go for young players and show them different things about basketball and different concepts to those of the NBA. One day they could become players like Pau Gasol, for example. Spain is a great place to play basketball. Players like Marc and Pau Gasol came from here, very talented men in the NBA. All these players help the NBA, which wants to see better play and it therefore needs players from other countries. And when NBA players come here, it’s a chance for the fans, because a lot of activities are organised around the league.

-When Barça play against teams from the NBA, the Palau Sant Jordi is always packed, it brings a lot of people, a lot of spectators. What do you expect this time?

-I think the Mavericks will have to be careful. Barça already played very well against the Lakers. But that was different, because the Lakers have players like Pau Gasol. I think it’ll be different, the Mavericks will have to watch out. Barça have a great team, and that gets harder every year because all the other teams want to win their titles. There’s a great atmosphere at games here, the fans sing, they cheer ... in the US, they clap, but here the supporters yell and get behind the team, it’s a great atmosphere to play in!

-Now you’re in Barcelona and then you’re off to La Coruña. What are your plans?

-Yes, there’s a lot to do, but it’s a chance to teach children about different activities related with the basketball world. Running, shooting for two, for three … These are different ways of interacting with the kids and a great opportunity for people who love sport! With social networks growing and all the media attention, it is easier for a kid to find things out about the Spurs, for example, and that’s good for the growth of the NBA. And it’s very necessary. And this is a great place to do it.

-You retired in 2009 after winning three rings. Were you sad to give up basketball?

-No! I had thirteen incredible years in the NBA, it was a dream! But there is time in life for other things and now I’m doing a lot of work for the NBA and commentating in the US for ESPN. Now I want to be with my children because when you’re a professional sportsman you have to put that first and the family suffers. Now I can bring my children with me on a lot of my activities and that makes me very happy.

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