Taqwa Pinero : “Playing for Rick Pitino, it helped me to come to Europe”

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The american swingman Taqwa Pinero (6’4, 34 years old) talked to me about his College experience and his pro basketball career overseas.

Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Taqwa Pinero. I play for Pau and this is my first full year there.

How did you start playing basketball? Did you ever tried any other sports when you grew up?
I started playing at 14 years old. I played american football first, and then I decided to start basketball.

At college, you were one of the team leader of a big school: Louisville. What kind of memories do you have about your time there?
We did pretty well in College, we went to the Final Four. Playing for Rick Pitino, one of the best coach ever, it was a good experience for me and it helped me to come to Europe to play at a high level.

During your pro career, you have mainly played in Spain and Italy. But you have also played in Greece, Russia, France, Turkey and Iran. What is the best country to play pro ball overseas?
To be honest, now I am in France, that is by now for me the best country. In Spain, everything were great. But I like the way in which France is professional, on and off the court. So for me, it’s France.

And what is the more competitive european league?
Spain is over, because the talent is higher. There is only two americans per team, so it’s difficult to get in Spain.

What are the specificities of each country?
Every country has something different. France is more physical with a high level of play. This is more athletic, fast, a better pace for young guys. Older guys like me, we got to try to keep up with the young guys, but it’s a great league.

For the second time of your pro basketball career, you decided to stay with the same team between two consecutive seasons at least. For you, is this place (Pau) special?
For me, I want to finish my career here in France. It’s good for me and my family. People here are great, so I would love to finish my career in France.

What about your role on the team? Do you help your young teammates giving them some advices from your great pro experience?
I am older now, so yes, I have to pass on my resume to the young guys. For me, I feel good seing them become better. For me, it’s good to see.

To conclude, you have your own website : taqwapinero.com. What can we find on it?
It’s still on construction. I want to show everything : my life, my family, etc. You will see my everyday life.

About the author
Picture of Alan Le Bolloch

Alan Le Bolloch

Alan is the founder and photographer of 3PTSHOT! For over 10 years, he has been sharing his passion for basketball on this blog. He regularly travels to the USA to cover NBA games. Alan is also the author of the book "Create a successful website: make a living from your passion and realize your dreams".