Last Friday, we were invited to SportsBlog.com’s Hanging with the Pro’s which featured current Dallas Maverick and former member of the 2004 UConn Huskie National Championship team, Charlie Villanueva. There was no guided direction for the conversation as many topics were reached, such as the state of the NCAA and Big East, Villanueva’s UConn days, his marriage proposal and his opinion on Adam Silver. It was an inside and uncut look at how an NBA player views a variety of topics, without a swarm of media surrounding him.
The environment was laid back and relaxed, as we all shared laughter and smiles while talking to Charlie. As Charlie said himself, “I love telling stories from my point of view.” He’s a writer for SportsBlog.com, has his own website, and is leading the pace at preparing for a career when the NBA spotlight dims.
In essence, Villanueva was a joy to talk with and hear his opinions. The limelight and microscope on the NBA can lead to people forgetting that these basketball players are still regular people who enjoy the same normal things everyone else does. Villanueva even described Dirk Nowitzki, one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game, as a “regular guy.”
As I was listening to the discussion going on about the Big East and NCAA, I wanted to steer the conversation in the other direction. Scouring Villanueva’s instagram before the interview, I saw that he had recently proposed to his girlfriend. As my name came up to ask Villanueva a question, I quickly went from asking him about Dirk and Monta Ellis to getting an insight on something people wonder about, but don’t really know: How do NBA players propose?
So, the question was asked and here’s how Charlie responded:
“Ah, wow. Well the good thing is that my lady is from Dallas, so that worked out. I was nervous to be honest, I’ve never been that nervous in my life. It was worse than being in the green room waiting for my name to be called. I went out to dinner and I took her to the American Airlines Center and that’s where I did it. I just felt like it was right with her being from Dallas and watching the Mavericks growing up, to now being with a Dallas Maverick and now spending the rest of my life with her. I just felt like that was the right spot.”
People may bash Villanueva for not “living up to standards” of being a lottery pick in the NBA, which is fine. He’s received criticism for the large contract he signed in Detroit — $35 million over five years back in 2009 — even though anyone with a brain wouldn’t turn that down.
Regardless of your opinion of Charlie V, he’s playing in his 10th NBA season and learning every day about life and basketball. Coming into camp with the Dallas Mavericks, there was no shot for Charlie. The Mavs had 15 guaranteed players already. However, the former lottery pick defied the odds and stole a spot on the roster, earning a guaranteed deal. That says a lot about the content of his character and it was evident from speaking with Villanueva he is enjoying every part of his NBA career and will be well prepared to keep prospering once the laces are hung up.
Has Charlie Villanueva lived up to his potential?
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