Laws holding it down in Argentina (Basketball)

November 22, 2009
Andre Laws

For the last seven years, Andre Laws has moved more than U-haul.

He’s played professionally in Mexico, Jordan, Bosnia and Argentina as well as suiting up for NBA summer-league games for Cleveland and Milwaukee.

And he’s loved every minute of it.

“I pinch myself all the time and never try to take any days for granted because this type of opportunity doesn’t come around too often,” he told me recently. “I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to see different parts of the world and to do something I love day in and day out.”

Laws, 29, is currently playing for Argentina power Atenas de Cordoba, one of the most successful franchises in Latin America. Through 12 games this year, the 6-foot-1 guard is averaging 9.3 points on 58-percent shooting from inside the arc.

Last year, he had a dream season.

“It was an incredible year because we won the championship and I was named Finals MVP, so this year we’re defending our title in hopes to get a back-to-back,” he said.

Laws, of East High fame, recreated himself since his arrival in Argentina. After making his reputation as a scorer early in his career—he went for 18 ppg as a senior at San Diego and averaged 20 ppg in other leagues—his offense took a backseat to other parts of his game.

As a result he developed into a better all-around player.

“We play a more European style of game where it’s slower, more defensive-oriented and about spreading the ball around,” he said, “so even though last year statistically was one of my lowest, I had some of the best success since I’ve been playing pro.”

It wasn’t always gravy.

Early in his career, he took his lumps trying to fulfill his NBA dream.

“Coming out of college, I went straight to the Cleveland Cavs camp where I was with Carlos Boozer, but unfortunately I didn’t play. You talk about a reality check,” Laws said. “I had so much success my senior year in college and I remember feeling like my dreams were right there in my grasps.

“That fall, I returned to Anchorage to work a job and it was a very humbling experience and one of the reasons why I worked so hard to get back to this level.”

Before he stamps his passport again, Laws caught up with the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.

Question: What’s it like to live in Argentina?
Answer: Argentina is very nice. I’m in Cordoba, which has over 1 million people so it’s a pretty big city with lots of things to do. There is a lot of culture with dance and theatre being some of the main attractions. The people are extremely passionate here about their sports, especially soccer. During basketball games and soccer games, there are arenas where the fans will stand and sing throughout the whole game. It’s a pretty amazing atmosphere.

Q: Has your view on basketball changed? Is it a job or do you still have love for the game like back in the day?
A: I still have the same passion for the game now as I did when I was a little kid playing with all my friends at The Alaska Club. Basketball is like an escape for me. There are no problems, there are no worries, just myself, the rim, and the ball in a game that, like golf, you can never master. Obviously once you hit the pro ranks, there is more of a job-like vibe because our incomes depend on how and if we produce. Being an American overseas, you’re job is on the line each game. If you don’t produce, you don’t play and the checks stop. I’ve seen players released after one game, so there is no security and that at times can be stressful, but it’s just part of the business.

Q: What do you miss about Alaska?
A: My parents and youngest brother Jarred still live there so I miss them like crazy because I’m only able to see them once or twice a year but I have my times where I also miss the snow. Come Christmas time, I used to love seeing the decorations around town, the snow on the ground, and Christmas trees in the windows. I’m usually in hot weather climates so at times I miss those four seasons. Maybe I take that back, break-up season is pretty bad in Anchorage (Laughs).

Q: Where you live during the offseason?
A: The majority of my time is spent in Los Angeles.

Q: What is your “must-have” item for road trips?
A: The majority of the road trips are about 5-6 days, sometimes longer. I can’t go on road trips without my laptop or IPod. I love music and love to learn about new things so my IPod is one of the first things I’ll pack. My laptop is huge too because it allows me to be in contact with friends and family.

Q: What’s song is stuck in your head right now?
A: Scriptures by Drake.

Q: Do you have family with you?
A: My girlfriend Nicole came out with me this year and it’s great to be able to travel abroad and experience that with someone you care about. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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