Jiri Welsch is a 37 year old 199cm guard that is playing his fifth season for CEZ Basketball Nymburk (NBL). He started his basketball career in 1990 with Holice and then moved to Pardubice in 1994 where he played until 1998. He then played two seasons with Sparta Praha and then two seasons with Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia). In 2002 he was drafted by Philadelphia 76ers (NBA,1rd(16). He played in the NBA from 2002-2006 playinbg a total of 247 NBA games for teams like Golden State, Boston, Cleveland and Milwaukee. He then played with Unicaja Malaga (Spain-ACB) from 2006-2010. He then played with teams Asefa Estudiantes Madrid (Spain-ACB) and Belgacom Spirou (Belgium-D1). He spoke to German Hoops about his basketball career.
Jiri you played in Frankfurt against the Fraport Skyliners this season. I can´t recall that you have ever played a professional game in this arena. What kind of feeling is it for you at age 37 to come to new basketball places?
You know what, I did play in this arena – 15 years ago, season 2001/2002, with Olimpija Ljubljana, Euroleague game. I shared that memory with my younger teammates as soon as we entered the gym. It’s a nice feeling to travel to new countries, new cities and arenas at this stage of my career, it makes it fresher and more interesting.
The club has won 13 titles in a row. That is something that is difficult to believe. How proud are you to be playing for such an elite team like CEZ Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL)?
It is a unique streak to win 13 titles in a row and I am very proud to be part of the last 4 championship runs. But it doesn´t happen on its own, there are couple of teams in the Czech league that can challenge and push us. We always have to work for it and earn it, so no matter how dominant it may seem – being a champion at the end of the season is always a rewarding feeling.