Rafael Martinez, who this season hung up the boots to the 40 years after 19 seasons in the Endesa League, received this Friday the tribute of Spanish basketball in a ceremony held at the headquarters of the ACB in Barcelona. The event was attended by Spanish basketball legends such as Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos Jiménez, Román Montañez, Sergi Vidal, Albert Oliver or Fernando San Emeterio. Some colleagues also made an appearance in his last season in the Baxi ManresaWhat Yankuba Sima or Dani Pérez.
The president of the ACB, Anthony Martinstarted the event by congratulating Rafa Martínez for his career, and highlighting the “imprint” he leaves on a personal level, beyond his sporting achievements. “Rafa is the prototype of a team athlete. It’s not easy to always put the common objective above when you’re good, decisive,” said Martín.
Fernando San Emeterioa former partner of Martínez, defined him as a person who “He does not leave anyone indifferent” and “he immediately makes himself loved”, while he highlighted his “capacity for suffering, for going over pain” as an athlete.
Martínez received electronically the message of some of the players with whom he has shared a dressing room throughout his long career, such as Sergio Llull, Guillem Vives, Andres Nocioni and Victor Claveramong others.
It couldn’t have a better ending, at home and having a historic season
The honoree, who could not help but get emotional when thanking his family “education and values” that have “helped” you in your professional career and “above all to be the best staff possible”, remembered the three professional clubs he has played for during his 19 years of experience in the Endesa League.
“To Manresa, the small-great club where I grew up, I appreciate the feeling of belonging that I have brought to all the clubs. It couldn’t have a better ending, at home and having a historic season“Martinez said.
Of Valencia Basketballabove the titles achieved, the forward highlighted the “affection of the fans, the city and the club above all. It is not easy to spend so many years with a club with the demands of Valencia Basket. Being from outside and being treated as if you were from the house, is a pride. The last day at La Fonteta I realized that the love they had for me was very special.”he acknowledged.
Of these 22 years, I keep my departure from Valencia and my last day in Manresa, at home. I will always carry these two moments in my heart for the love of the people
From his time in Bilbaowhere he only played one season, assured that it was “Unforgettable on a professional and personal level”and defined the Biscayan city as “a very special place”.
“Of these 22 years, I keep my departure from Valencia and my last day in Manresa, at home. I will always carry these two moments in my heart for the love of the people. Now I am closing a stage and opening another, which I hope will be full of challenges,” Martínez concluded.