Argentina Basketball Legend Luis Scola Keen To Open An Academy In Dubai

Argentina basketball legend Luis Scola keen to open an academy in Dubai

“Impressed” by Dubai, Scola says on his visit to Dubai Sports Council as he promises to return soon for a family vacation

DUBAI (Pakistan Point News - 11th Nov, 2021) On his first visit to Dubai, Argentina basketball legend Luis Scola has been left awestruck by its glitzy landmarks and stunning skyline, and is planning to come back soon with his family for a vacation. He is also exploring investment avenues and seems keen on the idea of opening a basketball academy here.

Winner of a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and a bronze in Beijing four years later, as well as two silver medals at the World Cup in 2002 and 2019, Scola is in Dubai for a charity dinner hosted by Argentina football legend Javier Zanetti, who is now Vice President of Italian football giants Inter Milan.

Trying to make the most of his short first trip to Dubai, Scola has been driving around the city, admiring its many landmarks, and visited Dubai Sports Council as well, where he was received by Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of the Council.

“This is the first time I am in Dubai,” said Scola, 41, who was accompanied by Naser Al Tamimi, CEO of REPs UAE, on his trip to the Council.

“The reason why I come is tonight there is a charity dinner organised by Fundacion PUPI, Javier Zanetti’s charity foundation. He is a very good friend of mine and, of course, an Argentine and Inter Milan football legend. He has invited me for the dinner and that is the reason why I am here.

“I have always wanted to come to Dubai, but since I am going to be here for only a day and a half this time, I am already planning my next trip, probably with my family.”

One of the few athletes in sports history to have appeared in five Olympic Games as well as five World championships, Scola added: “I have been here a short time, but I have been impressed. I have been talking to the people a little bit about the history of the place, and they were telling me that 20 years ago there was nothing here, and I was like, ‘that’s impossible’.

“All these buildings, I am really impressed by their quality, and also the setup, the style, the design. I think it is something unbelievable, and honestly I cannot wait to see all this in the night – it must be so beautiful with all these buildings and the lighting. So I am looking forward to tonight and I am looking forward to coming back soon with my family.”

Scola is also seriously considering the idea of opening a basketball academy in Dubai and said: “We have talked a little bit about it [opening an academy in Dubai] and I think it would be great. I will be happy to talk more about that. I believe that Dubai is slowly becoming the centre of all these events, and the perfect place to do all these things. So I will be happy to do some stuff here. I think it would be great.”

A dual Argentine-Spain national, Scola is currently based in Italy, after re-joining Italian professional basketball club Pallacanestro Varese as their Chief Executive Officer in September this year. In the summer of 2020, he had signed with the Varese club for his final season as a professional basketball player.

Scola’s playing career started in 1995-96 in Argentina, at the age of 15, and three years later he travelled to Spain, spending nine years there. A three-time All-EuroLeague selection with Spanish club Tau Ceramica, he signed with the Houston Rockets in 2007, and was voted to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Later, he played for the Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets, spending 10 years in the NBA before signing for Chinese club Shanxi Brave Dragons in July, 2017.

For all his travels and success as a club professional, though, the Olympic gold he won at the 2004 Games in Athens remains his favourite memory.

“The Olympic gold medal is very hard to beat,” said Scola, who also won a gold medal with Argentina in the 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball tournament as well as two FIBA Americas Championship (2001 and 2011). “Every time you win an Olympic medal, that’s probably got to be the most important thing.

“To me, the World Championships were also important because it looked like we were not going to do it again, but we were able to reach the final again, 17 years later, in 2019. So I think that was very, very satisfying.”