Timofey Mozgov on his foul trouble, Canadian visas and beer
Note: I’ve checked some message boards where people commented on my previous translation, and felt the need to ask everybody not to read too much into wordings. Thing is, I don’t get it firsthand, and while in US journalists treat quotes like quotes – so broken English of international players finds its way into newspaper articles – in Russia writers always tend to “beautify” the speech a bit. So this was likely translated twice, first from Timofey’s words into Russian of Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy and then by me into English with some rules broken and a share of word for word translation – I’m trying to get it posted before the next game is played, so it has to be done really fast. Please just keep in mind these aren’t the “quotes” quotes – Alexander Chernykh.
Kirill Zangalis of Soverskiy Sport was the first to reach Mozgov when our rookie logged onto Skype while on the plane to Boston. Kirill wrote that he could hear other Knicks players laugh and joke in the back, all in good mood after the team had won the opener. But Timofey, even though he tried to hide his sadness, clearly sounded sad:
On foul trouble:
Of course I didn’t want to spend my first official game like this. It’s strange, but I wasn’t nervous at all. I’ll say it right away that I didn’t see much difference between the season opener and our preseason games. The stands were filled with fans, there was same number of timeouts. Only the [pre-game] show was very colorful, that’s the way to mark the start of the season. But it’s hard to impress me with that too. Sometimes in Russian arenas we had shows that were just as good. So the situation was normal for me, my knees weren’t shaking.
Then everything started to happen around me at a wild speed. I can’t even recall right now how I managed to get two fouls so fast. First call was controversial; I got it while battling under the rim with Andrea Bargnani. The second one also happened in a crowd when everybody was pushing around. In three minutes I was benched.
I won’t lie to you, I was frustrated, but didn’t dwell on it. I was pulling for our guys. It was very important for us to win the first game…
At the start of third quarter I hit the court again. But everything went by the same scenario. Four minutes on the court, two fouls and the benching. But it’s just the first game for me in the best league in the world, and I’m sure everything will be all right.
Remember how I played my first official games with Team Russia at the European championships a year ago. I fouled out from each of my first three games. Something like this happened in BC Khimki too. It will go away. It’s important that head coach Mike D’Antoni showed his support. He said, “Tim, don’t fret. Just keep on working and it will be all right”. He assured that nobody intends to take me out of the roster.
Tim’s fancy new Canadian visa
It was my second visit to Canada and I didn’t have any visa problems before that. Our plane landed less than 24 hours before the game. Everybody quickly went through the passport check, but I was stopped. For a long time, they were trying to figure out how I managed to get to Toronto a week ago. We had to go to another terminal where the talks went on. The result of that was banal: we dished out 200 bucks for a visa and I got one for a year.
When I arrived at the hotel I was feeling terribly sleepy, so I just checked the news on the web for a while and went to bed. We had a light shooting practice in the morning and then there was free time before the game. To tell the truth, I really wanted the game to start sooner, maybe that’s why I burned out a little bit.
Life on the bench
It’s hard to sit on the bench. I really wanted to jump on the court and help the guys, because it was a close game. My best friend on the team Danilo Gallinari ran around for almost 33 minutes and played great. He scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. Right after the win he gave me a hug and said, “Cheer up, Timmy, everything’s just starting. Don’t feel depressed, that’s the main thing”.
But there was no time to be depressed, I had my head in the game all the time. And during timeouts fans wouldn’t let me get bored. A guy in an enormous turban, which the Sikhs wear if I’m not mistaken, impressed me the most. That guy was making a show, never stopping his shouting, dances, clapping and singing. And the fans that were sitting very close to the bench would reach out and offer beer to our reserves. Guys would laugh and point to their water bottles, as to say, “we can’t”