Tiago Splitter Trophy Tour Blog
Writing this blog is Spurs basketball communications coordinator, Mitch Heckart. Mitch began with the Spurs in the PR department in April of 2012. A native Oklahoman, the 28-year-old had never been out of the continental United States prior to the #SpursTrophyTour. Follow his journey this summer with the Larry O’Brien Trophy as it visits 2014 NBA championship teammates around the world in their hometowns.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY, AUGUST 2 & 3
The Larry O'Brien Trophy returned to South America this weekend when it visited Spurs center Tiago Splitter in his home country of Brazil. Making appearances in the cities of Rio and São Paulo, Larry reconnected with his friends from the neighboring continent.
On Saturday, Larry joined Tiago at the Brazil vs. Argentina basketball game in Rio, a warmup for the upcoming World Championships. In front of thousands of fans and the NBA trophy, Tiago registered a team-high 15 points and 12 rebounds. While he was doing work on the court, Larry was doing his thing on the concourse, taking photos and selfies with fans.
At halftime, Tiago was honored with the trophy in front of the sell-out crowd, who stood and applauded for the first Brazilian to ever win an NBA title. Also congratulating Tiago were his teammates as well as team members from Argentina. A great way to start off this trip!
Quickly after the conclusion of the game, Tiago and Larry boarded a plane headed for São Paulo (population 22 million people!). First stop in the second city was ESPN Brasil, where Tiago and Larry were featured live in-studio. A staff member told me that this very studio is where Tiago resided the night he was drafted into the NBA.
Before the two could exit, they made sure to stick around and take photos with all ESPN staffers to conclude day one of the #SpursTrophyTour in beautiful Brazil.
The second day began in a city just outside of São Paulo, called Barueri. It was here that the NBA was hosting it's 3X3 event for local fans. Along with Tiago and Larry, a familiar face also showed up -- Spurs guard Danny Green. Tiago and Danny were quickly introduced to the raucous crowd, where they were greeted with high-fives around the perimeter of the court. Tiago (being his home country) addressed the crowd and answered a few questions before signing a few autographs and taking photos.
The festival also included shooting competitions, music and food, as well as performances from NBA mascots and dance teams. Although it was a scorcher outside (and it's WINTER here) the crowd stayed for hours to take part in the fun.
When the event wrapped up -- Tiago quickly said goodbye to Larry and his fans and jumped into a van to re-join his Brazilian teammates. Tiago said they had a team meal scheduled for Monday night followed by three grueling days of practice.
That's it for Brazil and South America on the #SpursTrophyTour. Next up, the shiny guy will visit the great state of California to hang with 2014 NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard. Adios for now!