Published December 06, 2012
New York – It's never too late to live a dream.
Just ask Pablo Prigioni who, at 35 years old, is the oldest rookie in the NBA
After achieving nothing but success in international league and tournament play, there was still one thing missing from Prigioni's basketball résumé.
Now looking into his final years on the hardwood floor, Prigioni is excited about the challenge the NBA will bring.
From afar Prigioni watched as his teammates on Argentina's national team triumphed in the NBA. Manu Ginobili was winning multiple titles while clearly establishing himself as the best Latin America has to offer. Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni too were adding their own successes to the league.
After deciding to pass the ball on the Spanish ACB league in favor of the NBA, Prigioni hopes he can make his mark.
As the Argentine team got ready for this past summer's Olympics, which was possibly the current team's last hurrah on the international stage, Prigioni got the initial taste of the NBA that implored him to give it a shot.
Egged on by his countrymen, Prigioni finally relented and took the plunge.
"There were some options in the past years but it wasn't something that I considered. Something changed this year in me that I said why not," Prigioni recently told Fox News Latino.
"Physically I was feeling really good and I saw it as an opportunity. I wasn't going to have to deal with the regret in the future if I hadn't accepted."
The 35-year-old settled on a Knicks team that revamped its point guard situation over the summer, a glaring hole in the roster over the last two seasons.
It all started when the Knicks decided to not match the Houston Rockets offer to Jeremy Lin. Losing Lin and getting Jason Kidd on board, the additional sign and trade for Raymond Felton made it look as if there wouldn't be room for Prigioni. But in fact it was exactly the opposite.
While Prigioni may not be posting huge numbers in playing time, he still makes the most out of the small amount of minutes he's given.
Despite being at the bottom of the totem pole, the veteran guard always knew he would be ready when called upon.
That happened on Nov. 26 when Kidd, who is battling back spasms, and Felton, who played 42 minutes in their big game against the Brooklyn Nets, needed an extra set of hands.
Two nights later in Milwaukee, Prigioni was unleashed for real as he proved himself. Continuing his roll, Prigioni seized his most playing time yet with 25 minutes at the Knicks Nov. 30 game against Washington.
"I thought right away that in coming here I was going to be on a team that wanted to grow, that wanted to improve, that wanted to be on top," Prigioni said.
"Pablo can play. He's a big part of what we're trying to do here in New York," said the Knicks head coach, Mike Woodson.
Now the question is, what took Prigioni so long to make the switch?
For starters, playing for multiple titles in Europe was the driving factor that kept Prigioni from hopping over to the NBA in the past.
Not only were his teams in contention for the ACB championship, winning it in 2008 with Saski Baskonia (Tau Ceramica), but there were also the Spanish King's Cups and the Spanish Supercups tournament titles he won while playing against the top teams in the Euroleague.
"I like that there are various titles in play during the year ... I like when a team wins and gets a title. So there you have four shots during the year," Prigioni said. "Here you only have one."
Even though he won four titles in a year with Spain, anything pales in comparison to Prigioni winning a title with the Knicks.