BORIS Diaw waxed nostalgic and turned a bit emotional talking about his departure with the San Antonio Spurs following a recent trade with the Utah Jazz.
The veteran big man referred to his four-year stint with the Spurs and coach Greg Popovich a 'great experience,' having won his first and only NBA title with the franchise in 2014.
"I had a great time playing for them. It's been four years of amazing experience," said Diaw, opening up about his trade for the first time since the Spurs dealt him to the Jazz to clear cap space for the impending acquisition of Pau Gasol by the Spurs.
Diaw learned about the trade while here in Manila for the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament playing for France of which he is team captain.
The 34-year-old Diaw, a first round pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2003 draft, said moving from one city to another is no longer new to him, having previous stints as well with the Phoenix Suns and the Charlotte Bobcats.
Still, that didn't make leaving the Spurs and French teammate Tony Parker behind any less painful.
"I'm going to miss the people there. We had great fans there. I've only got good memories from San Antonio. It's part of my basketball career," he said during the press conference for the France team at the Sofitel Hotel on a rainy Friday.
San Antonio's winning culture is what the 6-foot-8 forward appreciates the most with the organization.
"It's very rare that you get a chance to play for a championship every year, and every year we were in the race," said Diaw, recalling his days with the Spurs, with whom he also played for in the Finals in 2013.
"Even if we didn't make the finals every year, at least we are contenders."
Now with the Jazz, Diaw said he's going to bring the same winning mentaility to the franchise.
"I'm ready for the new challenge," said the Frenchman, the 2006 NBA Most Improved Player. "I'm going to a new team who is younger and start a new thing."