Two-time NBA champion McAdoo hopes to experience title success at Besiktas
ISTANBUL (Turkey) - James McAdoo of Besiktas Sompo Sigorta could instantly settle any basketball-related argument by flaunting his two NBA championship rings. He could do that if he didn't keep them in a safe back home in the USA or, more importantly, if he wasn't as unassuming off the court as anyone who has noticed his selfless play on the court would expect.
Steph [Curry] threw the ball in the air, my parents and my wife were right behind me. It is something you dream about as a little kid. How often can a person say 'my childhood dream came true'? - James McAdoo
"If when I grow older my kids don't believe that their dad played in the NBA and won two championships, maybe then I would take them the rings out and show them," McAdoo told championsleague.basketball with a laugh.
Of course, the first thing that any new teammate asks the 2015 and 2017 NBA champion is to talk about his experiences on that legendary Golden State team.
"I played for the Warriors for three years. If you do anything for three years, you have a lot of stories. I try to take those experiences and stories and bring them to wherever I am," the 26-year-old power forward said.
"So there are things I can tell [to my Besiktas teammates] that an older teammate on the Warriors told me but, when I do that, it's not because I want to brag about anything.
Hopefully I can experience more success here, my dream is to win another championship here - James McAdoo
"One moment I will never forget is in my rookie year, we were in Cleveland [for Game 6 of the Finals] and I looked at the clock as it hit triple zero, the moment we became the NBA champions.
"Steph [Curry] threw the ball in the air, my parents and my wife were right behind me and they came down from their seats. I was just looking at them and it was like a dream. It is something you dream about as a little kid. How often can a person say 'my childhood dream came true'?
"I still keep in touch with a lot of those guys, some of them are now on different teams or have retired. I am extremely thankful to God that I was able to do that. I am 26 and I was able to play in the NBA for four years and go to the NBA Finals three times.
"As basketball players we work so hard, the fans only see 40 minutes on the court. We practice for hours our entire life. So, I was very thankful to be in that position even if I didn’t get to play that much. Hopefully I can experience more success here, my dream is to win another championship here."
Being in Istanbul for the first time and playing for Besiktas is wonderful, I love it here. This is a great club and I have great teammates - James McAdoo
McAdoo first landed in Europe last year and spent a season at Auxilium Torino before signing for Besiktas. In Torino, he was of course just a stone throw's away from Milano, where his famous uncle Bob McAdoo made history as the first NBA superstar to cross the pond and then led Olimpia to some of the most glorious years in its storied history.
"My mom and dad both played professionally overseas and, as a lot of people know, my uncle Bob played in the NBA for a long time and then came and played here, so I knew that if the NBA didn’t work out [playing in Europe] was always something that I can do," the Besiktas forward said.
"The level of competition here is great, there are great leagues, so when the opportunity came, I didn’t hesitate. But playing to Europe takes time to get used to and it is definitely not for everyone. Some players come here from America and in two-three months they go back.
"This year I am finally comfortable with most of the rules. I love the game here. I really enjoy some of the rules like being allowed to knock the ball off the rim and there are things like playing post defense that are very difficult to adjust to. The game in Europe is very different from the NBA, but it is beautiful.
There were games where Steph Curry would have all the points or Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson would have all the points. And maybe one night they didn’t score but they were still in the game, helping the team win - James McAdoo
"Being in Istanbul for the first time and playing for Besiktas is wonderful, I love it here. This is a great club and I have great teammates.
"I also enjoy the playing time. In the NBA I could maybe go for weeks without playing. That was because I was playing on a really, really good team and I was playing behind NBA All-Stars like Draymond Green. It is difficult, because as a basketball player you want to play all the time."
McAdoo makes the most of his extended playing time at Besiktas. He is leading the Turkish team in rebounds and efficiency and he is the Basketball Champions League's Top-10 in both statistical categories. But his remarkably valuable intangible skills are not reflected in those figures.
"Sometimes winning plays like diving on the ground or taking a charge or just passing it to the open man don’t show up in the stat sheet," he said.
"There were some games where Steph Curry would have all the points or Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson would have all the points. And maybe one night they didn’t score but they were still in the game, helping the team win. So, I think I try to take those lessons from those really good teams I’ve been on and bring them to every team that I come to.
We are trying to be better, hopefully we will be proud of ourselves and of what we accomplished by the end of the season - James McAdoo
"That’s just what I want to do in Besiktas. Because everyone just wants to win, everything is better if we are winning. I don’t want to have a double-double if we are losing the game. I just want to help the team win."
Besiktas are in urgent need of winning as they stand at 3-6 in Group D heading into the final stretch of the Regular Season. McAdoo, who spoke to championsleague.basketball prior to the 24th December coaching change at the Istanbul club, was optimistic about their chances.
"I understand the frustration of the fans, we definitely should have more wins both in the Turkish league and the BCL. It is frustrating but speaking for myself as a player, I can only control my actions on the court. I try to go out on the court and play as hard as I can each and every day," he said.
"My dream is to play in the Play-Offs at the end of the season in both leagues. I hope we get the opportunity to do that. It is tough of course because we lost a lot of close games in both leagues, but that is a part of basketball. I would say to the fans a big thanks for their support and their patience.
"We had some difficulty, but we are trying to be better. Hopefully we will be proud of ourselves and of what we have accomplished by the end of the season.
"This is not the end. I think we will figure things out."