With the two sports holding similar physical demands from its players, it is no surprise that a lot of basketball players enjoy playing volleyball from time to time. Some even did it at a very high level, like former Indiana Pacers and former volleyball high school player of the year Chase Budinger. Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, Sacramento Kings’ Vince Carter, and Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton have also played volleyball competitively at a point in their lives. And of course, there is the story of current NBA fan favorite Joel Embiid, of the Philadelphia 76ers, who while growing up in Cameroon dreamed of being a professional volleyball player in Europe, but after starting basketball at 15 years old, made the switch to the more lucrative sport.
The latest addition to the list is legendary Greek player Dimitris Diamantidis, a three-time EuroLeague Champions and an EuroBasket champion. USA sports fans will mostly remember him from when he schooled an young Lebron James during the semifinals of the 2006 FIBA World Cup, in which Greece beat Team USA 101-95:
Retired from basketball for two years now, he is spending quite some time playing beach volleyball. Here are tidbits from an interview he did with the Hellenic Volleyball Federation regarding his new found passion, available at CEV.com:
How did you start playing Beach Volleyball?
I liked it the first time I played the game. I kept playing with my friends since I was having a good time and I still do. It is a lot of fun.
What is the hardest thing you have to cope with when playing Beach Volleyball?
There are lot of things. My friends know the game more than I do and it is hard to keep up. It takes a lot of work but I just like playing and having fun.
Some observers say that you are very good at blocking…
I do not know if I am that good at it, since I do not know that much about many aspects of the game. As I said, it is enough for me that I am having fun.
Is it easier to hit a three pointer in basketball or getting a hard defence in Beach Volleyball?
At my current level, it is surely harder for me to make a good defence action.
Is Beach Volleyball a good hobby and a way for you to relax?
Everyone has his hobbies. Beach Volleyball is mine. For sure, I would recommend to anyone to try and to play, since it is a really nice and hard game to play.
Here is a video featuring Diamantidis in volleyball action: