The Toronto Raptors are one game away from defeating the Indiana Pacers and moving onto the next round of the NBA playoffs. Last Tuesday night’s 99-102 Game 5 comeback win had Drake and fellow fans cheering. Not just cheering, believing.
And hey – there’s a raza leading the way on the Raptors’ roster: Luis Scola.
At 6’9’’, Scola is pretty hard to miss on the court. Even if the Argentine hones his hoop magic in the shadows of future San Antonio Spurs’ Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili, Luisito has made a name for himself in the NBA. He’s reliable, he’s honest, he is – simply put – a dedicated workhorse.
As one commentator said, Scola has “one of the most varied and interesting careers in the last few decades, going from a start in Europe to a near all-star in his early NBA days, to an effective role player as time has passed.” And he’s right; Scola’s U.S. career kicked off in Houston back in 2007, when he made his move from European ball to the NBA. He spent five seasons with the Rockets before being traded to the Phoenix Suns, the Indiana Pacers, and, subsequently, the Raptors.
Did we mention that he’s been a regular on the Argentine national team throughout? He took gold at Athens 2004 and most recently silver at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City. Yesterday, the Argentina Olympic Committee announced that Scola is the unanimous choice to carry his country’s flag at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer.
With the Raptors, Scola has featured in 76 games this season, all of them as a starter. He’s averaged over 21 minutes per game, and after going 10 of 60 from three-point range in his first eight seasons in the league, he’s been a revelation this season: 65 of 161 (40.4 percent!).
Despite only averaging 2.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11-16 minutes per contest to start the playoffs, Scola deserves a shoutout. At age 35, he’s the oldest dude on the Raptors’ roster, and his contributions on and (perhaps more importantly at the moment) off the court are things that younger players should emulate.