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Off the Court 2021-22: Pelicans guard Tomas Satoransky

A native of the Czech Republic, Tomas Satoransky is one of five international players on the New Orleans roster, joining Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania), Willy Hernangomez (Spain), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Canada) and Didi Louzada (Brazil). Although this is only Satoransky’s sixth season in the NBA, he’s tied for being the third-most experienced member of the Pelicans. The 30-year-old discussed his background and interests away from basketball with Pelicans.com:

Best moment as an athlete: “Qualifying for the Olympics and being part of an Olympic team. It was a dream come true and definitely something I won’t forget.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 31: “Back in Europe I used to wear No. 13, but when I got drafted by the Wizards and I moved to the United States, 13 was already selected by Marcin Gortat. So I just switched the numbers. I’m not really into numbers that much, but I’m glad to know no one (in the NBA) wears 31, so it’s not a problem when I change teams to keep that number.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “I’m big on cuisine. I love restaurants. My wife actually works in the family business, organizing a food guide. I’ve heard the best about the culinary scene in New Orleans. I also speak Spanish, so I might talk Spanish with Willy Hernangomez a lot.”

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “The traditions, the atmosphere in the town. I had some chances to experience it while with visiting teams. It kind of reminds me of some Southern European places. Obviously also the music.”

Pregame ritual: “Taking a hot shower to get my mindset right. Listening to certain music. But I’m not big on routines and I’m not superstitious.”

Favorite athletes as a kid: “Manu Ginobili and Rafael Nadal.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “Probably playing another sport. My family all plays volleyball, so I might’ve ended up doing that. But I really love tennis, so maybe trying to be a tennis player. But I never thought of doing anything besides sports, so something in that area.”

Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams: “Willy Hernangomez is one of my best friends. We played together eight years ago and are now reunited. Also Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks played with us. Ryan Arcidiacono of Chicago.”