About five years ago, Mickaël Gelabale went down to a knee injury playing for the Seattle Supersonics. The following season, he played D-League ball. Just last month he was with Valencia BC, latest stop in 3½ seasons in Europe. Surely no one reckoned he’d be starting in the big league ever again, even when the injury-riddled Minnesota Timberwolves signed him to the first of two 10-day contracts.
No one, perhaps, except for Gelabale himself, who never gave up on the dream. As the Team France player told the Minneapolis Tribune after his signing with the Wolves in mid-January: “I [was] always thinking like that. When I was in France, I was thinking to come back. I was in Russia thinking about it. I was in Spain thinking about it.” (Actually, he omitted Croatia and Belgium there…)
Thought became reality last night for Gelabale against the San Antonio Spurs in a nicely international-flavored NBA matchup: Even with Andrei Kirilenko and Manu Ginobili not suiting up, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter, Nando de Colo, Boris Diaw, Alexey Shved, Nikola Pekovic and of course Ricky represented the non-American rolls.