Number 3 already occupies its rightful place. Laia Palau, the great icon of Catalan basketball, received a great farewell tribute in Fontajau, the pavilion that enjoyed her game during her last stage as an athlete. Spar Girona took advantage of the match against Valencia Basket to remove their shirt in an event full of emotion that served to launch the Endesa Women’s League, where Cadí la Seu and Barça CBS will also compete this season .
“I will not cry, because I am very grateful. What has happened to me is very lucky and the greatest tribute is that Uni Girona wants me to stay here working”, she said as she held back tears and was surrounded by youth players “To talk about the career of the best player would be silly. It’s a career that has been so brilliant that it should be studied in the history books. The shirt in Fontajau is a good tribute, but the real tribute is what she has done for the city of Girona,” says Cayetano Pérez, president of Uni Girona. “Once you have closed the mourning for the loss of our reference on the track, you will see that in this new stage we will come out winning”, warns Pere Puig, the former sporting director of the Girona club.
“I’m not one for collecting signatures, or photos with idols. I’m more for sharing experiences, but everything has the exception that confirms the rule and for me it’s Laia Palau. And not because of her sporting achievements, but mainly because of how she understands sport, how it conveys its values and how it thinks and works for the collective. This is what seduces me and Laia represents to me a way of understanding life and society with a sporting perspective,” he says Anna Caula, General Secretary of Sport.
“What I value most about Laia Palau is her creativity, how she has been able to express, communicate and transmit the artistic soul she carries inside. Her innate talent full of feelings and sensations has always been reflected in her playing and that of all the teams she has played in. She is an unparalleled and relentless player,” sums up Carme Lluveras, one of the people who know her best and who did not miss Fontajau’s tribute.
Palau is the typical person who can go weeks without replying to a WhatsApp, but then deviates to solve any injustice in his environment. With fame of hippie and even as an itinerant NGO, the Catalan woman has always cared more about others than herself. “Off the track, I would highlight his commitment and his solidarity with social issues. He is an involved person with great commitment in life. He is not an icon who has been told how to think and what to say to win fans. On the contrary, respect is given to her precisely because she is herself. And that is why he is an example of life”, argues Lluveras.
The ex-player is a great reader and a better prescriber. A lover of the lyrics of Joan Miquel Oliver, leader of Antònia Font, Laia’s life also cannot be understood without music, to which she turns according to her mood. “If I’m asked what I remember about Laia Palau, a lot of stories come to mind, but if I had to define her as a person and even as a player, the word that quickly jumps to my mind is discretion . I have never seen a player with so much talent and so much humility at the same time. I think she has never believed how big she is,” says Vicente Collado, former coach at Ros Casares in Valencia.
“A Well of Feelings”
“Laia is a well of feelings. At first it didn’t seem like much to her to be a professional basketball player. She wanted everything in life, but over time, with laughter and tears, she understood that basketball was a path to use of this gift and of its magic,” points out Lluveras, who has participated in the recording of a documentary reviewing Palau’s career. “He has always chosen to play in teams and countries where he has been able to cultivate and instruct in different customs and cultures. For me, she is an artist who was a player. His success has hard work, discipline and enthusiasm, which are basic ingredients of the sport, but his skills go far beyond that. He is a creative person, with a lot of sensitivity, who expresses his emotions in everything he does. He has magic and art, and he expresses them with basketball, but also with music, drawing or writing”, he concludes.