You have to give Campazzo the ball

I don’t know if the same thing will happen to you, but I spend my life anticipating situations. If A happens, then B will happen and if B happens, C will surely take place. Thus, imaginary dialogues between sheets occur, discussions that finally do not occur, fears that do not materialize and joys that do not come true. Perhaps a psychologist on duty talks about control and anxiety, and he is probably right, but that’s what happens and sweeping it under the rug does not make much sense either.

With Facundo Campazzo and his arrival at the Denver Nuggets exactly this happened. I assumed, along with so many others, that something could be transferred seamlessly from one continent to another. Yes, I know, the adaptation, but I knew Campazzo. He had seen it play an infinite number of times, but this time it seemed he didn’t. Joy, in a season and a half, only appeared in a trickle. Let’s say everything: it happened, but it didn’t happen that much. The late night army embraced an illusion that never ended up being made concrete. The dream won many times, the culprits of its present were succeeding each other, and the truth is that what we were looking forward to, the conversation that was repeated in our head the day we made the jump, seemed to be far from being. The Real Madrid smile appeared and disappeared. Ecstasy and depression in equal parts. Campazzo went from playing to not playing, from not playing to playing, and he always had a limited role when he had to enter: he was the right back of any teammate on duty who had the ball in his hands. When I stepped onto the parquet it was anxiety and rapture, a product of a lack of genuine opportunity. A creative mind forced to drag chains night after night. He went from sitting at the top in Europe to sweeping the floor in the NBA. From having all the keys to being locked in a room under the orders of a guard on duty.

Who doesn’t get frustrated with something like that? Surely everyone.

Everyone except Campazzo.

Perhaps those hands on Aaron Gordon’s head wondering how – and why – he made that backward pass at the free throw line was a wake-up call for Campazzo in the eyes of his teammates. The bench of substitutes with arms extended to the sky with the sash pass to Nikola Jokic and the sighs in the Ball Arena with the assistance of bowling in transition to speed Max Verstappen finished conforming that initial assumption that we all had: Campazzo takes the ball and with it all the existing bolts are removed. We, the rivals, the teammates, everyone, make up the exact moment when Peter Pan flies for the first time: a happy memory, only that is needed. And then the fun returns to us. Now yes, cum everyone. Campazzo unties his tie and Facu emerges. They will be minutes of roller coaster. The magician waves his wand to do one, two, three tricks in a row. Brushstrokes of art that remind us that the sport we love is content but also form, that the pragmatism of numbers loses its grip on the emotional. What is basketball if not this? And then, already embracing the dynamics of the unthinkable, we point to the corresponding interlocutor on duty: do you see that he can play in the NBA? Do you see that if they give him the ball, things can be different?

Injuries at the Nuggets gave Campazzo the opportunity he needed. They allowed him to play head-to-head with Jokic, the infinite resourceful player, Larry Bird over seven feet, who shares an enthusiasm for the fantasy of synergistic and slow-speed basketball empowers him. The short and the giant, the hare and the tortoise in a fascinating combination of unlimited magic resources. Because on Monday everyone laughed, even Michael Malone and his troop, used to being extreme fans of caution.

Defense is already part of his specialty. The next step for Campazzo will then be to improve his three-point shot and make it consistent to become a serious threat behind the arc. If he did A, then B will come and C will surely come. I sail again between the sheets with fancy threads. His mind of steel is dull, recurrent and capricious. You just have to tell him that he cannot so that he breaks barriers and redraws limits. It is inevitable: Campazzo must be given the ball for the extraordinary to happen.

Campazzo, dear friends, it’s not just FIBA: it’s also NBA.

And this story is just beginning.