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Gutierrez: “I miss everything”

Talk in depth with Juan Gutiérrez

Sports

 - What is a normal day like in Juan Gutierrez's life? 
It's relatively boring. He started at 7 in the morning with a walk to the dog. At 8am I'm already at the gym. And at 9.30, I'm having breakfast to start working. It is usually a very flexible work that allows me to accommodate my schedules so I can eat or rest when I feel like. And to see when to put meetings or things like that. And at night, I'm always going to watch basketball.

 - Why did you come to this of player representation for your post-retirement stage? 
Because somehow I wanted to stay tied to the activity. When I retired, it wasn't as thoughtful a decision as it should have been. Beyond that my hip injury gave me two years of changüí to know that the end was close. And when it came time to retire, I wasn't sure. I wanted to stay tied to the activity. Journalism enjoyed it, but I felt it wasn't my thing. And I wanted to stay on the line of attending and collaborating with the development of the players. This can be a good way out. The only thing I was clear was that coach didn't want to be.

 - Did you imagine it a few years ago or was it something that didn't cross your head? 
I didn't imagine it in any way. But because a few years ago I had no idea what I was going to do. I didn't even know I was going to retire. In fact, the proposal came from a meeting with my best friend and who is currently my partner, who is Maxi Fernández. Being my brother of life and my confidant, he was the first person who found out I was going to retire. I told him he was in a lot of pain, that he couldn't take it anymore. That I needed to leave because it was much more suffering than enjoyment.

And I went to give him the idea of doing something. To work together and to deal with any kind of project. But it started right there. We were both at a right time to start something. This idea came up and we are very happy. It's a process that will take us much longer than we expected. And much longer than it had been a representative in the past. When the activity was not so well known and there was not so much representative market. It's something that is built very long in the future, and we think we can do it.

 - What is the most important thing in this function and in the fact of helping players? 
-Help the player to have the best career they can match their potential, as a player and as a person. Both my partner and I are very happy about how we have handled ourselves off the court about personal relationships. With leaders, with journalists and with a lot of people.

And we think that's a value we can bring so that players don't suffer that part, or don't play them against them. Especially today where we live in a world where they are exposed to things that can jeopardize their career all the time. We think we can advise them out there. And we want to change the paradigm of professional player behavior at any level. Not only in the National League but even those who play in local leagues.

 - Is it very difficult to face a player today to make him understand that part of the distractions? 
It's not difficult. There were always a lot of examples of talent wasted by bad decisions in their careers. What I think is we have to do it knowing that he can play you against your work. For not being all the time telling the player what he wants to hear. But to be the bearer of bad news. We have that line of thought. We want to implement it and we are not sure whether it will work in the long term. Or if it's the line that guarantees you success. But if we're going to rest assured that it's the starting line and we want to stay there.

 - Did you feel half glanced at who your peers are now in this new world? 
-Yes and no. With some, the reality is that we work with the best vibes. Even with some players who switch from us towards them as from them towards us. And we do it in a framework of respect. And all the time making it clear what things are like. It is not a service offered that anyone can change. Like a phone company, for example. But we like to have a good relationship with our colleagues as far as possible. Somehow I try to continue with what we did as players, always seeking consensus.

 - Did you bother some criticism from some representatives for you in a given situation when you were commenting on television? I'm asking you because they were public. 
Yeah, the truth is, they bothered me. First, because you can always get more bothered by something that someone you want to tell you than one who doesn't know you. A person close to you always has more capacity to hurt you than another. But what bothered me the most was that there was a suspicion of a lack of honesty or ethics. When all my life I handled the right way. Even at the times when I have been asked to be a commentator. The first thing I did with all the people who hired me was to say, “I'm a representative, I do this. And if you don't mind that I'm commenting on the match, fantastic.” Then, I don't think there's any law on it. I'm also very calm about how I performed that role. Without taking advantage of the supposed power that can get to give you a microphone.

 -You always had an image of a transparent, honest, direct person, and representatives - of all kinds, not just in basketball - are usually looked at a rudding. Is that prejudice on the figure of the representative hit you? 
Yes, the truth is, yes. It hits me like anyone who distrusts any profession. Because it really has nothing to do with the profession, but with the person. It's like saying all lawyers are garcas. No, they're not. Not all cops are corrupt. It's just some point people, and sometimes it's okay to point your finger at each. I think the player agent is a necessary figure for players at times. To have league aspirations or jobs they normally wouldn't have. Or to defend things for which they don't have the tools. It was very good for me to have a representative. I was very happy with the one I had all my life. I was very grateful to him and we even became friends. I think it's something the player should have. Today, maybe it sounds like I'm selling myself. But I think it's a necessary figure that the player should assert it.

 - How much training did you take or did you take for your job? 
Training is permanent. There's not a punctual race I've done. Because the reality is, when I retired I didn't have any study. And when I started I had no training other than consulting friendly sources. But today I'm with the idea of signing up for a college career. And let that training never end. Because at the same time that's what I tell my depicts. It's a picardy that not everyone is studying. All basketball players should be studying, 100% of players should be studying.

Those who are basketball professionals have a lot of hours off a day. And those who are not professionals, who are more basketball workers, also have time to study and have the tools to do so remotely. Even if it delays the race as long as it takes. I always set an example of a partner in Granada, who was Nacho Ordín. He did the law career and it took many years. He received about 35, and today he works in the law body of Barcelona. If basketball gives you that tool to have a stable job for 15 years, with a lot of free time a day, if you don't invest it you are giving away time and money.

 - Why didn't you do it, making it so clear now? 
I don't think I did it because I was lazy, and because I found it more comfortable to put an excuse than making the attempt. It is clear that when I was a youth there were no tools that were up to date. But I'm not going to make that excuse. Because it's full of examples of players who in the same circumstances as I have started and finished races. Black Lamas is one. While he was a player he was studying kinesiology. And as soon as he retired, he was already inserted into the basketball labor market. Today he is established as one of the best kinesiologists in Argentina. They check it from all the clubs. I didn't do it because when I was a youth I trained many hours a day with a lot of categories. I didn't encourage myself to make the extra effort I should have done to train certain hours. Then I took the bus to go to UBA. I didn't do it for a lazy. But it's within the mistakes I want my representatives not to make. I use an example of what you don't have to do.

 - And in which race do you want to score? 
I'm about to sign up for a bachelor's degree in international trade. At the same time that you study you have to do a double degree with marketing and business administration. I have no idea how long it's going to take me. Because I'm also working, and I don't know what time I'll have. But at some point we have to boot.

 - How does the fact of insisting so much on the study fall on your represented?  
It falls like any other advice. One of the most important things that the basketball player has is his confidence. You can't be telling him all the time he's doing everything wrong. Simply insist on things you think are good advice, and crush until it turns out. Whether studying how to sleep, eat or train better. These are tips that have to happen to kids and never give up. Because the player has his degree of confidence that makes him feel good to compete on the court. The player tends to think he does everything right. Or when he does something wrong, it's not his fault. Then you have to insist and break the balls a lot.

 - Do you miss anything about the player? 
- All strange. I'd lie to you if I told you that in any other profession I found the same satisfactions I found playing basketball. The truth is, not yet. I miss my physical condition, competing every day, which was what I liked the most. What I miss is the fact that I arrive every day and compete against me. Against my teammates to see who had the most minutes. And against the rival to see who took the victory. It's the nicest thing sports has. I'd tell you I even missed the trips, which were tired at times.

Fortunately I had a race in which I had to travel a lot, with several tournaments going around Latin America, the United States, London or China with the National Team. And with clubs, in Argentina or Spain you also spend it traveling. And sharing hours with colleagues, meeting cities. It is a great privilege that today I miss him. The thing is that at the time I swelled my balls to make a suitcase every other day.

 You used to say there was a time of a lot of pain in your hip. Did you experience some time of despair for the pain and the end that was coming? 
I think despair never came to be, because I'm an optimist by nature. And I always think things are going to end up getting fixed or going well. But there was a key moment. I didn't end up playing the 2015-2016 season, but I was dressed in a suit next to Tryphon Poch (then Works coach). And when they asked me if I was going to keep playing, I said yes, that was my idea. That I was going to take the whole break to get my best from the physicist to keep competing. Even, before the League ended, I was already going to the pool, doing exercises, kinesiology...

I made Black Lamas crazy. But one day I went to the pool, I was doing the exercises and I felt such a pain but so strong, I didn't wish anyone. I couldn't even get out of the small pool where I was doing the exercises. I went out, got dressed, and as I could, I walked home. I took two ibuprofen. I went to sleep for a nap, and I remember when I got up I said, “I don't play anymore.” That's how I couldn't go on because I really couldn't even walk. When you're 32 years old you can't even walk, something's wrong. How could I endure until surgery, and now I'm a new man.

 - How is that moment where the physicist wins you and you meet that reality? Perhaps we see it now in tennis player Andy Murray, where you see the athlete who was figure and almighty in a completely vulnerable state and suffering for not being able to normally carry everyday life as young. 
I never got depressed. I was lucky my head worked properly. It is true that it was a time of many changes. Stop playing basketball is hard, feeling pain all the time is hard.

But the reality is also that when I played I never felt superpowerful. And while I was a player, I thought a lot about the life after the player, and how he was going on. I always thought the player's life was short. And then you had to find another way, not staying all the time with the past. So when I retired, I started looking for what I was doing. I faced it all with a lot of enthusiasm.

Beyond recognizing that I miss a lot of playing, you always have the illusion that nice and good things are going to come out. Because if I wouldn't get out of bed. Luckily I had the mental strength to face it. And it also helped that the day after I retired I was already working. Maybe, if I had taken six sabbatical months, I'd have fallen into depression. I faced it as I could, keep going through it and always look forward with joy. It's my way of living.

 -I'm taking advantage of your side as an analyst. What are you seeing about the National League? 
I see a situation similar to the one we lived in 2001. Not because of the situation in the country, let it be understood that I don't compare that. But it is true that there are economically complicated clubs. And that generates opportunities for a lot of guys, as it was my turn at the time.

I think it can be positive, as it can also be hard to go through. Today we see matches where the level fell quite a bit. And it goes a lot hand in hand with the economic ability of clubs to hire foreigners. That can lead to the league losing a little parity. But it's still our league, which is made of oak and has endured the toughest things. The future is going to be better.

 - And what do you see about that young and new stuff that's popping up? 
There are a lot of boys. I really like young people in Peñarol, like Juani Marcos, Gorosterrazú... On Thursday I stayed until after 12 pm watching Athens-Argentino and I really like Gastón Garcia... I name players I'm not representing (laughs). But you always look with hope that new values are emerging that end up feeding the Argentine National Team.

I think somehow, these guys will have the same job we had in my litter.That suddenly we had to jump on the court a little forced. We had to show what we had.

 - What does this new massive presence of players in Spain's ACB mean? 
It's like Europe has an eye like the Lord of the Rings looking at different places. And at times look more for Argentina and at times look less.

In 2013, when I wanted to make the attempt to return to the CPF, it cost me a lot. It took me many months to get an offer and I was at my best. It was not so easy, and at other times it was an easier way for Argentines. I don't take credit from the number of Argentines who are today. They are extraordinary players and not only are they in the ACB carrying bags, they are all standing out in their places.

And that gives me a lot of joy, because the ACB is the league I like most and enjoy seeing. Fortunately I have to comment on it and I like it. It's good to follow the boys in their day to day. It's spectacular what Nico Laprovittola is doing. Facundo Campazzo gives us a spectacular video every day in the Euroleague... See what Marcos (Delia) do, Duckling Garino. What Luca Vildoza does that drives me crazy... It's nice to see so many Argentines at the ACB.

 - Are you surprised by any in particular? 
I really wanted to see Luca Vildoza there. A year and a peak, when I was still in Argentina, I felt that I was the player who was furthest from his roof. Because you didn't have to be a genius to see that he had a lot of potential. Then you had to see how he reacted to his arrival. And on top of it in a club as demanding and from school to Yugoslav as Baskonia is. It adapted perfectly and is already standing out.

 - Why didn't you sign up for journalism if you like it and enjoy it so much? 
-I don't know. Maybe because I'm a little insecure. When I have had to write columns or comment on matches, I always read or listen to myself and say “look at the stubness what I said.” Or “who the hell is going to be interested in what he has to say or write.” But at the same time I enjoy it very much. It took me a lot longer than I thought. And maybe that's why I felt it wasn't efficient or interesting, and that it wasn't my thing around. So, as I liked it, it's good to keep it like now. That every while I do it and enjoy it.

 - How much does this explosion play in Spain for the National Team? 
-A lot. Especially for the value they give to themselves the players. Argentines are in permanent contact with the best in Europe and preserving the Argentine DNA. And that positions them better to face any match they play. Whether qualifying on the continent or in an international tournament.

 - What do you see about this team in the National Team? 
I see a team well suited to basketball being played today. I see very good guys physically, beyond that as always we have a height deficit in painting. We don't have a 2.15 meters flying. Beyond seeing some kids who paint very well to futur. And it would be nice if no one could carry them a backpack.

I feel like we have a team to compete. Who understands basketball where he's moving today. You can adapt to playing against Uruguay by playing one way, and then accommodates you to play against Puerto Rico in another way. And eventually he will have to adapt to playing against Lithuania in another way. I think we have a group of players that can be adapted to all three conditions in the same way. I look at the next World Cup with great optimism.

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Publication Date: 01/02/2019

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