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Old 10-04-2006, 06:02 PM   #1
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Timmeh's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Default Fabio or Fabulous?

Interesting article on new-comer Herrmann from Charlotte Observer:
He's a 27-year-old NBA rookie with fabulous Fabio hair, a gold medal and a Spanish accent. Walter Herrmann will certainly get noticed this season by Charlotte Bobcats fans. And he has "cult hero" written all over him if he happens to sink a few game-winners.

Herrmann is an enigma, which is a good thing. The Bobcats were 26-56 last season and need a little mystery.

A 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward, he has played for pro teams in Argentina and Spain since 1996. Bobcats coach/general manager Bernie Bickerstaff brought Herrmann over here on a one-year NBA contract hoping for another half-court scoring option.

Herrmann interrupted his honeymoon in Florida this summer to play one game for the Bobcats summer-league team. That semi-tryout went well enough that the Bobcats eventually signed him.

He teamed with bigger Argentinian stars like San Antonio's Manu Ginobili at the 2004 Olympics in Greece, where Argentina won the gold medal and the United States finished third.

I was there covering those Games for the Observer, but Herrmann didn't register much with me when I saw him play. He was a role player for a superbly united team and one of about a half-dozen big men who could shoot the 3 for the Argentineans.

Herrmann said Ginobili has given him three primary pieces of advice about dealing with the NBA: get prepared for a longer schedule, buy fully into the new coach's system and, above all, learn English.

Although he started our interview by saying "Sorry, my English is terrible," he speaks the language quite well given he has only lived in the United States full-time for two weeks. Although he spoke in Spanish and used an interpreter for about half our interview, he described his abilities in confident English.

"I can shoot for three points, I can do the penetration, I can go inside," Herrmann said. "And I can get rebounds."

He said fans in Spain and Argentina occasionally chanted "Fabio, Fabio" when he was playing well.

Of his long golden locks, Herrmann said: "That's just my Luke."

His Luke?

It took a moment to kick in -- he meant his "look."

How much playing time he will get here is a question. Herrmann won't start, and he admits he must work on his defense. But if he can score out of a set offense against NBA-level competition, he will find minutes.

His personal story contains a significant amount of tragedy. In July 2003, Herrmann's mother, younger sister and fianceť died in a head-on car crash in Argentina. Herrmann was practicing elsewhere in Argentina and received the news by phone. One year later, on the anniversary of those deaths, Herrmann's father died of a heart attack.

With the help of a surviving sister, Herrmann has moved on with his life and basketball career over the past two years. He said Monday he was very determined to make this new country and new team work for him.

"The NBA is the most important league in the world," Herrmann said. "This is my dream. I want to demonstrate very rapidly that I belong here."

Sources: People magazine;;;

Scott Fowler
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