Iran’s national basketball team performed well in the World Cup and was able to obtain a license to participate in the 2020 Olympics. This will be the third appearance of Iranian basketball in the Olympics, and this shows that reaching the Olympics is a great event for Iranian basketball.
Let’s talk about the fact that the Olympic Games can be a window of hope for all our players to experience participation in foreign leagues.
Exactly. Especially considering the fact that there are hard and strange rules about players becoming legionnaires and each team has limited and different quotas in different countries, but the Olympics are still a big field to achieve big dreams. Even a league like the Turkish or Chinese leagues has a good quality level. The investment and model of holding games there is similar to that of the prophets. One of the reasons is that the player does not pay taxes. This was good for us until some time ago, because the teams could get Asian players in addition to two foreigners. In previous years, Mehdi Kamrani, Samad Nikkhah and Hamed Haddadi were there. Ever since the president of the Chinese federation changed, they have started to reduce quotas. This year, this quota is only two and they want to remove even this quota by next year.
Which level of Asian league is higher than our country’s league now?
However, the criteria are different. In Iran, players play much more physically, with zeal and with more prejudice. But in China, for example, the investment and style of holding competitions has become extraordinary. Chinese Taipei League, for example, is slowly improving.
Basketball, like our other sports, plays emotionally and the events in it are very zero and one hundred, I think there is a lack of professionalism, do you agree with that?
We should not call it a lack of professionalism, and I think basketball is part of society, and that depends on how emotional our society is. We Iranians are always zero and one hundred and we can not be moderate. If we can forget about the Puerto Rican game and think about the next game, a lot of problems will be solved, but we can’t do that and we are like that. In my opinion, this is a point that we should focus on from the next generations and start solving it.
With the exception of two of our players who have played in major leagues, the rest of the players seem to be inexperienced. What do you think about this?
I think we should call it lack of play. These players, who are now and in the national team of Iran, played in the basic categories and have been in the camps of different national teams for many years and played different games. But the fact that we play with the big teams in the world, 10-15 times a year, makes us reduce the distance between us and the first-class teams. In the previous World Cup, we lost by a margin in the first games, but gradually we narrowed the gap with the other teams to end the competition. In this World Cup, too, although we had a small difference and we were always in the game and there was a lot of competition; But in the end we lost to Tunisia, Puerto Rico and Spain, and that shows that we have a shortage of players.
Would you rather play with weaker teams in the Olympics and have a better chance of advancing, or go against bigger teams and have our players go to the American and European leagues?
I prefer to eat stronger teams. The Olympics are not a place to say that bigger teams are playing, and it is not to say that a weaker team is playing. All Olympic players dream of playing with big teams and against big players. For example, I would love for the United States to come to this tournament with its full team, and for us to team up with the United States and go against them.
Do you have any memories of playing basketball at school?
In times when the teachers were good with the children, we used the opportunity and under the pretext of the school team, we would complete the two teams class by class and start playing, and sometimes our games would lead to fights and fights. When our noise was loud, our assistant would come out and say who allowed you to play, and we would send one of the kids who had a more important lesson to class to end the story. I remember, it was the end of the year, but we were still playing and our vice-president always said that a team that wants to go to the Olympics is not training as well as you!