Closing a chapter with his last post-game press conference of the year, Flip Saunders was asked if there was any question in his mind about if he wanted to come back next season.
“No,” he straightly shot back. “I mean, this is maybe not what I signed up for originally when I came. But as all coaches, you love challenges. Through every adversity, through every challenge, there’s opportunity.”
Saunders and most of his coaching staff weren’t the only ones who didn’t sign up for such a disappointing season. There was one summertime free-agent acquisition who thought he was signing up for something completely different … Fabricio Oberto.
Despite having surgery to correct the electrical system of his heart last summer, despite only being able to work out about 10-days before training camp as a result, despite dealing with hamstring and conditioning issues from being out of shape, despite often playing while wearing a heart monitor … Despite it all, Oberto was a good sport. He never complained. He always came ready to play. He always worked hard.
As part of his media exit interview after Wednesday’s Pacers game, I asked Oberto about the difficulties he’s faced this season (in terms of his past basketball successes versus being a Wizards in 2009-10), and how his body feels about playing basketball in the future (Fab turned 35 on March 21).
Oberto was also asked about what positives he could take from this past season and the adverse on-court basketball issues the team faced.
Oberto’s tenure with the Wizards is likely to be nothing more than an answer to a trivia question. One day, when hearing his name, someone, probably an Argentine basketball enthusiast, will correctly remember that he played for the team in Washington in addition to the one in San Antonio. Bonus points if he recalls that Oberto was traded from the Spurs to Milwaukee to Detroit and then bought-out in the 2009 Summer.
There’s virtually no chance Oberto will be back with the Wizards, little reason for either side to want each other. And sad to say, but the Argentinian might have also played his last game in an NBA uniform.
If I were just another Wizards fan on the outside looking in, Fabricio Oberto might not mean much. I’d be able to gather that he means well as a person, but otherwise, just another random player stopping through. But because I’ve been lucky enough to cover the team up-close, I’ve been able to grasp a sense of Fab’s good character. And I hope that from the few things I’ve written about him, you have too.
Is it just me, or does Fab Oberto at the beginning of the season look a whole lot younger?