San Feliú de Llobregat, late 1980’s, a small kid is playing in the backyard. When he’s not shooting hoops by himself, his older brothers keep kicking his ass. That’s where it all started. From the beggining he was forced to find ways to score against bigger opponents. And those same siblings who made his life hard on the court? They are the ones who pushed him to go try out for CB Santfeliuenc at the age of 8. Three years later, at 11, he’d be playing for Barcelona, the club of his life.
The time and place might change, but we all know this kind of plot. Still, the truth is there aren’t many guys in the world who can claim to have accomplished as much as Juan Carlos Navarro has.
His track record showcases the evidences of an absolute winner. Whatever level you choose, there’s no denying Navarro has won it all. Over seventeen years and 253 international games with the spanish national team, besides playing 5 olympic tournaments, he’s got 10 medalls to show for (once world champion, twice european champion and twice olympic silver medalist) – two more if you add the two golds he won playing for the spanish youth teams.
With his Barcelona team he won the spanish league ACB 8 times, the spanish cup 6 times and twice the Euroleague.
You might say he was lucky enough to always play with great teammates, but his individual accolades say he’s played a very important role in team successes. He was named MVP of the following competitions: U19 World Championship (1999); European Championship (2011), Euroleague (2009), Euroleague Final 4 (2010), ACB (2006), ACB Finals (2009, 2011, 2014).
His latest contract with Barcelona seems to indicate his worth or at least in what regard they think of him. They signed a new contract for the next 10 years which means he might still be playing at the highest european level at the age of 47!
An acknowledged prolific scorer, Navarro has long raised the fans awe and admiration due to his incredible offensive repertoire. From his long range shooting (offbalanced, terribly fast and out of nowhere 3 pointers) to his ball handling, drives, court vision and playmaking abilites, there are so many ways he can dynamite a game by hurting the opposing team. That’s how he got his nickname “La bomba” from his old youth coach Agusti Cuesta.
Being the owner of great technical skills is of great use if you want to be a prolific scorer, However, if you’re a 6’3” (1.91m) shooting guard lacking great athletic abilities, you have got to have something more than that. Navarro definitely has it. The unparalleled ability of bringing his defender to despair by almost always being one step ahead and making the right read in the right place at the right moment.
Last but no least, he has the mental atributes of a great player – ambition or eagerness to prove himself, self confidence or unmeasured belief in himself and clutchness or unshakable faith to deliver in the pressure moments. Check, check, check!
Despite all of the skills, highlights and resumé, Juan Carlos’ biggest accomplishments are not the banners hanging from the rafters or the individual awards.. His best legacy are the moves he has to show for on the basketball court. Yes, we are talking about his signature move. The one who has been baptized after his own nickname “la bomba”.
The greatest honor of all is being paid to him on an everyday basis. Right now the running floater is in every coach and player’s movebook. As it should be! Here’s why:
- when properly used it allows you to avoid traffic in the paint
- by shooting over bigger defenders
- by surprising defenders before they get a chance to help and/or contest
- by shooting from long to mid range
- it is taken off the dribble while running, either with one or two (long or small and strong) steps
- inertia and the shooter’s forward momentum helps him releasing the ball in a faster way with the arm extended
It’s such a classy shot, I can’t help but love it. And the most beautiful part of it? It’s origin. Navarro developed it instinctively. He had a need (being able to shoot against older, bigger and stronger opponents) begging to be fulfilled and he naturally found a way to do so.
When he first started to play organized basketball his coaches used to try and correct him, try to stop him of using this shot. But with practice and persistence he became so good at it that not only did his coaches eventually accept The shot, they even started teaching it to other kids. 30 years later here we are, celebrating it. It’s not that usual that we celebrate the explosion of a bomb, but Navarro is that kind of phenomenon.
Thanks Juan Carlos “La Bomba” Navarro.