A few words for La Bomba, from some of the folks who have been lucky enough to see him play.
Nick Gibson, ELA
One step back and the ball’s already spun off his fingers and toward the rafters, giving everyone a chance to gawk as the leather dagger plunges downward. One step forward and he’s by you, unleashing his heatseeking tear drop into the Blaugrana sky. A Euro step left and another to the right and he leaps off the wrong foot, his hips twisting and his elbow bent backward as he kisses the rock off the boards and into the net. Master the art of direction, and be a star in any generation.
Sam Meyerkopf, ELA
He’s not the tallest or the strongest, the quickest or the longest. Whether it be national team or club, he never takes time off. When you hear “La Bomba,” you know you’re in trouble. Juan Carlos is the standard by which all European guards should be measured. Scoring record nor not.
Rob Scott, ELA
La Bomba is more than just, well, ‘la bomba’. But picture him gliding past his man at the top of the key and knowing, with everyone else in the building, what’s coming next. Watch the ball float out of his hand, just before the help arrives… You know it, he knows it, the other team knows it. Can they stop it? Some shots are just too beautiful to be blocked. Swish.
Os Davis, BallinEurope
What about Navarro? Only two things: one, he’s provided a ready-made response for years to Americans asking, “Who’s the best player in Europe?” Two, he’s lived up to that answer by coming through for FC Barcelona and Team Spain innumerable times, always producing and sorely missed when on sojourn in the NBA. Though coaches and big men and flashy wunderkind point guards have gotten the hype directed at Barca over the years, stepping up, it’s always been La Bomba…
Rafael Uehara, The Basketball Post
I’m on the record on Navarro. He’s probably my favorite player ever. I feel about him the same way I feel about Kobe, the same way I’d have felt about Jordan if I was around when he played, that every time I see him playing, I am watching a living legend.
My take on the accomplishment? He didn’t need it to build up the stature of his legend, but it sure solidifies it.
Alejandro Gonzalez, NetScouts Basketball
Best thing I can say about Navarro is that I don’t agree with people proclaiming Pau Gasol is the best Spanish player ever. I think is a tie, ex aequo. Navarro has no physical gift; he’s pure, wonderful talent. Skills. Leadership. Winning. And over all of that, he’s special. You see good players, very good players, stars and then, at the top, the special ones. Juan Carlos is one of them. It’s not about numbers. Or medals. It is about talent. He is to basketball what Queen was to music. Or Woody Allen to the seventh art. He’s an artist, a reason why we love this art called basketball.