As part of the motivational campaign carried out by the urban clothing brand GRRR, the hall of famer of the VTB, EJ Rowland has an interesting chat with Real Madrid player Trey Thomkins. Close friends as well as colleagues, the pair chat about Thomkins' overseas career, his time in the NBA and his point of view on such an important movement as Black Lives Matter from this side of the pond.
Drafted in 2011 by the Clippers, Trey had to compete for minutes on the court with a young star like Blake Griffin until his NBA career was cut short byl a bad injury: “coming out with Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, everybody would see my pops and they’re like 'keep him, stay on him because he’s got it'. I personally was starting to lick my chops, rub my hands together… And then I had an unfortunate injury, just happened the way it happened”.
After a hard recovery period, he headed to Nizhny Novgorod in Russia, a decision that not all those closest to him understood and that he found difficult to assimilate himself: “as American, as soon as I announced to my people, 'I'm going to Russia' they are like 'What? '. You know how they portray Russia to us in America. It's like the worst. So before the flight, I'm like 'Mom, I'm not going. Mom, I’m not going' at the time she was alive. She’s like 'you're getting on that plane. You committed to it. You got no choice'. I get on the plane and the flight was just so long that I was just like… I got to lock in, I have to put myself into this or it's going to turn into a disaster. And it was one of the most fun years I've ever had in my life on the court”.
Back then, his plan was to return to the NBA undoubtedly: “but the next step in order to get back home was Real Madrid. It was Nizhny to Real Madrid to back home”. He did not count on his success with the team and the warmth of a city like Madrid would make him rethink those goals: “It boils down to the fact that at the end of every contract we've had success here in Madrid. So the value that I created here always becomes an issue because they're willing to give me an offer that makes me question whether it's worth going back home and being a team player or sit clapping, being a cheerleader… and here I am now in year 6 in Madrid”.
The last seven years in Europe have prevented the American from being present at important moments in the United States, where he would have liked to be physically to be involved in a movement as important as Black Lives Matter: “being there, being physically in the States right now would help me feel more engaged, more involved”.
Thomkins sees clearly that society is still far from living in the equal world that he would like to leave his children as a legacy: “We’re so much further than where we would like to be. So much further. It’s tough and what's necessary. Everyone is entitled to general rights and general respect and that's something I grew up believing. It has nothing to do with race, has nothing to do with power. You can be the richest man and we can be the janitor in the room, I'm going to show you the same amount of respect”.