An NCAA Basketball Star In Europe

Play associated audio

With a single, devastating shot, Ali Farokhmanesh became the face of the NCAA basketball tournament in 2010.

He nailed the 3-pointer that propelled the ninth-seeded Northern Iowa Panthers to a major upset victory over the tournament favorite, Kansas Jayhawks. It also put him on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

After the season ended, Farokhmanesh was passed over in the NBA draft and instead went to play professionally in Europe. He spoke with Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin about life after March Madness, and why he feels he's still living out a dream.


Interview Highlights

On waiting for an offer

"Your agent's telling you that, 'Oh, you'll be fine,' and the months are passing and then your mom's like — every other day my mom was asking, 'So, any news? Any news? Any news?' And every day it was nothing, nothing. I still had a degree in finance. I had something to fall back on in case basketball didn't pan out. But, luckily enough, all those workouts in the summer paid off, and I got a job offer Aug. 10 probably. And I was on the plane 10 days later flying out to Switzerland on my own."

On the expectations of American players in Europe

"When you're an American, you're getting paid a little more, but also you're expected to score, to kind of lead the team. You're playing between 30 [and] 35 minutes a game, somewhere in there, and you have to produce or else there's 25, 35 people waiting back home ready to take your job."

On dreams of the NBA

I kind of understood that for an NBA team, they weren't going to really take a chance on a 5'11" white guy that plays the two guard. So, it wasn't ideal for me to be in the NBA at the time, but now I'm playing in Europe. I get to see things. My first year, I went to Rome and visited that. I've seen Prague. I've seen a lot of great things, and all the while I'm still playing basketball, and I'm getting paid to do it, so I can't really complain at all about that. Yeah, the NBA would be the ultimate goal, but I'm still living out a dream, I guess.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Bonjour, Barbie! An American Icon Packs Her Heels And Heads To France

Some 700 Barbie dolls are visiting Paris this summer. They span almost six decades of pretty, plastic history, including Malibu Barbie, astronaut Barbie, and, of course, Royal Canadian Mountie Barbie.
NPR

Domino's Pizza Tests Drone Delivery In New Zealand

Don't expect the service soon. The head of a drone company told Reuters they have to figure out how to navigate "random hazards like power lines, moving vehicles and children in the backyard playing."
NPR

In Stunning Reversal, Trump Suggests He'd 'Work With' Immigrants In U.S. Illegally

Donald Trump courted hard-liners on immigration in the primary campaign. But he signaled Wednesday night he'd be in favor of a path to legalization for some immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
WAMU 88.5

A Cyber-Psychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online

Dr. Mary Aiken, a pioneering cyber-psychologist, work inspired the CBS television series "CSI: Cyber". She explains how going online changes our behavior in small and dramatic ways, and what that means for how we think about our relationship with technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.