Article by Eduard Apostol – Posted Saturday, 14 May 2022, 08:29 / Updated Saturday, 14 May 2022 10:03
Patrick Richard, 32, is the leader of the U-BT Cluj champion, but also a player in the Romanian national team, the American from Louisiana being proud to represent us since February 2021. “Petrică” explained why and how he wants to relive the fairy tale from Champions League with black and white.
A real globe-trotter, who was up to the end of the Earth and back, shooting guard Patrick Richard is the leader of the U-BT Cluj champion. The 32-year-old American from Louisiana had a cosmopolitan career, moving from Australia to the Netherlands, then to Germany, France, Spain, Israel, and then to the other end of the world, to New Zealand. Italy, and since July 2019 it is in the heart of Transylvania.
As he confessed, he never had the opportunity to play in the NBA, but he did his job with praise wherever he was. Among the stars from Germany and the Netherlands, with trophies also won in college, “Petrică” – as the people of Cluj call him, after they “baptized” him – is also a Romanian with documents from February 2021.
He received citizenship and represents the tricolor national team. He won the title last year, and U-BT Cluj is in the race for the second in a row, after a fantastic season in the Champions League, where he ticked the “quarters” of the competition.
– Pat, what does it mean for you to play for the Romanian national team?
– It was not something I would have expected, but it is a pride to represent the three colors, red, yellow, blue, I do not take it lightly, but very seriously. I always want to give my all for this national team.
– Do you know the name of the national anthem of Romania or at least you hum the song in your mind?
“Sure, I can murmur a few passages from the anthem, because I’ve listened to it so many times, but I’m not one hundred percent sure I could interpret it fluently.”
“But do you feel anything when you hear this hymn?” After all, you were and are an American, only for three years in Romania.
– I feel something special, especially when I’m in line with my teammates, arm in arm. I feel how proud I am, I feel the same, it makes me represent the country with all the best I have. Colleagues make me feel the emotion, they give me their energy and their patriotism.
If you don’t get involved, you’ll never have a chance to win. I have this thing tattooed on my arm. I’m not the kind of person to sit back, not get involved, help his colleagues, I like to take on responsibilities
– Patrick Richard
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– Do you like this Romanianized name of yours, do you feel “Petrică” or “Patrick”?
– (laugh) Yes. I know, I’m one and the same, and Petrica and Patrick. I’m not offended, I wouldn’t have to.
I embraced the idea and I had fun with the fans who called me “Petrică”, “How are you, Petrică?”, I also entered this game. If the fans like it, I like it too, I have all my sympathy and affection for them.
– How do Romanians look to you?
– Very welcoming, hospitable, the kind of people you would want as neighbors. And my family feels very comfortable, if my family is fine, I’m fine too. It’s easy for me here.
From the age of 8-9, from the moment my father pushed me more and more with basketball, I only had “NBA, NBA” in mind. I wasn’t thinking about another career or trade. But my mother wanted me to go to school too, so I wouldn’t leave her alone. My family has come to Romania twice, they like it very much. They also like this idea with “Petrică”
– Patrick Richard
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– Is it a new chapter for U-BT Cluj, is the title a duty of service?
– For me, these three years have been and are a wonderful adventure here. But I’m not completely satisfied, at least I am. We are close to the title, now we have to win it again.
– What are your chances of repeating this year’s Champions League feat?
– It was like a fairy tale, yes, but first we have to secure the situation of being champions in Romania. When you have a success like this, it is difficult to keep the team together, at the same level, some have played in more important leagues, maybe they want something else, but now we are focused on the fact that we are in the semifinals and we have to win the championship.
– Did you get a chance to play in the NBA?
– I once went to a summer camp with the Detroit Pistons, then the New York Knicks, it was a good time, but nothing materialized. Life has followed its natural course, I am satisfied.
– Did you have a model?
– Kobe Bryant was the one who inspired me. His mentality, the way he won trophies and achieved his goals, the way he treated basketball, Kobe was an idol. Likewise, my father, a role model, always pushed me with sports. If it weren’t for him and his motivation, I probably wouldn’t have played basketball at all.
Baseball was actually my first favorite sport, I was very involved, but my father pushed me hard from behind, sometimes very hard, that’s why I give him all my respect and love. If it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have lifted the ball from the bottom.
After Kobe Bryant’s death, I no longer have a favorite team in the NBA. I watch various athletes, I watch to see how it develops. Bryant’s death left a huge void for everyone.
– Patrick Richard
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