From my mom, I got emotional intelligence.
The ability to quickly understand who you are in front of, to understand how a situation will develop, and to grasp aspects that other people usually miss.
From my dad, I learned my way of being a leader.
I take after my mom and my grandpa in the love for cooking, which is much more than preparing dinner.
Dad, instead, gave me the love for the game, which is much more than just throwing the ball into a basket.
When I was young I wanted to be a chef, and I ended up as a basketball player.
My friends spent their afternoons watching Sports Center and cartoons on TV, while I flipped to the Food Network to watch Emeril Lagasse's cooking show.
I'm the middle of three boys, I have always been my family's barometer, the peacemaker. The valve of a pressure cooker. I've always worked for people to get along, and the reason is the simplest: making others happy makes me happy.
Maybe it's the sum of all these things that made me the person I'm today.
As in any recipe: a spoon of this, a cup of that.
A pinch of sugar and salt to taste.
Yes, but who decides how much is “to taste”?
I think that's the reason why I don't like pastry: to make a cake everything has to be precise, not an ounce more not one less. Instead, in the other recipes, you can make some experiments, as in life, because it never happens to have precisely all the ingredients in the fridge.
Dad is a basketball legend, especially from the city where I grew up, but I, in a certain way, I didn't know that. I mean, I knew it, growing up people told me, but for me, this was simply a given. After all, he's the only father I have, I can't compare that to the experience of a father who wasn't a Seattle Supersonics legend.
I grew up in it, and like in cyclones, the calmest point is right in the middle.
He was also my coach when I was in eighth grade.
Even though I had no idea then, the car rides home after practice, while Mom's dinner was waiting for us, were the foundation of who I'm as a player and as a man.
They weren't long discussions or even deep speeches like you see in the films, where a father explains the meaning of life to his son. To be honest, most of the time I responded badly even when he was kind, I was immediately defensive because I was a teenager and also a hothead. I was not too good at accepting criticism, but twenty years later I feel that those are the words that most of all have stuck with me.
The most valuable lesson I learned from my father is just as cheesy as all the big truths are: go and have fun. These are words that have a different weight if they are pronounced by those who did it at the highest possible level. It gives the right weight to this sport, from the high school game to the NBA finals.
We must never forget that in the end what we do is a game.
Full of responsibility, but still a game.
When Alba Berlin plays an afternoon game it happens that the sun hasn't risen yet in Seattle, but Dad sets his alarm and sits there, in front of the TV, cheering just like fans all over the World do.
It took me 8 years as a professional to get to the Euroleague: I wanted it so much and I worked hard to reach this milestone.
Being the captain of this group is an honor hard to describe.
It's not just about winning and losing, it's the pride of being able to give a personal mark to a product, to export a vision, the kind of game that represents me. I like to believe that my team looks like me: on the field, in the locker room and even outside.
I remember the first time I stepped on a parquet with the orange-black logo on it. We won by 30 in a game with irrational statistics and at the end I joked with our GM saying "oh, it’s that easy uh?". The rest of the season proved that this was certainly not the case, but I wanted to interpret it as a personal welcome from the League to myself.
I can no longer call myself an American in Europe.
I'm, and will always be, stars and stripes but I really feel like a citizen of the world.
When I was in high school my history teacher said something, which I thought bounced like dad's technical notes, but clearly didn’t, because I'm here repeating it. He said "You can take all the lessons in the world, you can study, and go to the best schools, but only traveling will allow you to know."
See with your own eyes, feel close to people, to their culture.
It’s not about being in the right place, it’s more about not being in the USA anymore. We take a lot of things for granted, the language, the food, the habits, but just when you live in a new country for real, you learn how to live in any other country.
Breaking the mold teaches curiosity and respect.
I don't know if I will get older in Europe or in the United States, but right now I feel it will make no difference to me.
My way of thinking, living, playing and cooking will forever be contaminated by the world I have lived in and which I’m continuing to live in.
With a pinch of dad, a dash of mom, and Luke to taste.