Jose Manuel Calderon yearns for the pain.
The anguish that's become synonymous with long NBA playoff runs has eluded the 31-year-old veteran—courtesy of playing in the NBA's version of Siberia in Toronto for eight years.
The quiet but intense competitor has felt the ache of failure, sitting on the bench in London after Spain's gold medal loss to the United States this past August at the Olympics. He can only imagine what it's like at this level, the different emotions.
The elation, the joy and finally, that empty feeling that comes when an exhaustive investment falls short of a goal — no matter the outside expectations. A team featuring NBA players Calderon, Marc and Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka and former NBA player Juan Carlos Navarro had dreams of gold, but the duo of LeBron James and Kevin Durant led the United States to a seven-point win.
"People were asking us why (we were upset), 'You should be proud of yourself, it was a great game, it was pretty close,'" Calderon said. "Yeah, but we lost. I think people thought we'd lose by 20. They thought the gold was going to the USA. We were frustrated, sad. But we wanted to win, it wasn't a big difference in the game."
In time, though, he found solace in the effort and pride in Spain's performance.
"We've been (FIBA) world champions (2009, 2011), gold there, but we're playing against the best team, ever, almost," he said. "It's tough, you never like to lose. At the end of the day, you have two silver medals, not a lot of people can say that."
As for the NBA, the newest Piston hasn't had time to ponder playoff expectations, slim as they are entering the All-Star break (6-1/2 games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference).
After being traded, he had to go through the triple whammy of leaving the only place he's known as an NBA player (Toronto), which served as the chief reason it took a while for him to suit up. Calderon was the first foreign NBA player who played in an international city and was traded midseason, leading to the holdup in his work visa.
And as if uprooting a family isn't hard enough, he didn't get settled into his house until Monday, when his wife, Ana, and 3-year-old son, Manuel, moved to the Metro Detroit area.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130215/SPORTS0102/302150343#ixzz2KyuvDXO5
New Piston Jose Calderon emerges as one of NBA's top floor generals
Detroit News | Feb 15