More Than An Athlete?
Juris Arajs is an athlete from a small country in Europe called Latvia. If you are a real die-hard sports fan you should know a country called Latvia. Why? Because even if Latvia is a small country with a little over 2 million people, athletes from Latvia come up big, for example, this summer in Olympic games, Latvian beach volleyball duo Janis Smedins and Martins Plavins knocked out team USA in quarterfinals. And you can`t forget about Maris Strombergs, two-time Olympic champion in BMX. But what about those athletes who are not so famous? Well, one of them is Juris Arajs. Have you heard of him? Me neither, but check this out - last summer he was playing together with athletes from NBA, Euroleague, Russian Superleague, NCAA, and he did quite well. Maybe you are asking now how can I know about a random guy 4195.26 miles away? My job is to inform the world about interesting people all around the world. And this is and interview with basketball player from Latvia - Juris Arajs. Enjoy!
So as far as I know you are from Latvia. Tell me about yourself.
My name is Juris, I`m from Latvia and I play professional basketball. I can summarise who I am in three words - humble, funny and dedicated.
Tell me about Latvia.
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It`s a beautiful place to live. We are in the right place on the Earth, because we have everything - cold winters, hot summers, white snow, green grass, flowers you probably haven`t heard about, great history. Just an amazing place to be. That is why tourists so often come to Latvia.
When I was younger I played everything, just like all kids. We played football and by that I mean soccer, basketball, volleyball, just everything, but then comes a moment when you realise what you love the most, for me it was basketball. Then I went to the coach and signed up for it. I was living in a small city called Kandava, and that was 100% basketball city. All ages, many teams, everybody played basketball. then I started to play organised basketball. Later I did leave it for a few years, just because in my opinion I had lost the love for the game, but as you can see, the love is still here, I think it was more like a journey where I found out how many things I did not enjoy, and as a result I understood that basketball is my love.
When and why did you turn pro?
It`s quite a funny story, two years ago I played with some friends a friendly game with Estonian team, and I did quite well. Ofcourse after the game we stayed in the same hotel, had dinner together and a party, where everybody just hang out with everybody. Then we became friends, followed each other on Twitter and Facebook. Then, last year in February, I received a call from one of my friends, who asked me to join him and his team in Estonian charity game, and I said yes. Went to Estonia and had a nice game, the next day I received another call, and the same guy said they wanted me to join them in a bigger game in Czech republic, because I had so great time last time I said yes again. I went to Czech republic and had a really nice game, after the game I got invited to play in USA, and offers like that you just can`t refuse. After coming back from USA I realised I had the skills to go pro, and I did.
What is your Practice Philosophy?
It`s easy - work like the worst, play like the best.
What is your biggest accomplishment in your sports?
It has to be playing in the USA, just because of the experience I gained.
What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
Right now from me the most important thing is to get back in basketball shape after injury. I do a lot of cardio and shooting the basketball.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
Have a long and great career in basketball. As simple as that, just because I love the game so much.
What are your goals?
Always be the best I can be, since day one of my life, and it hasn`t changed.
What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
For me the biggest challenge is to make it in life, and I work hard every day just to make it done.
What is your diet like?
I was waiting for this one. My diet is pretty much vegetables, meat, rice, and water. since I have to be in shape all the time, then I have to eat right, and I love it.
Do you have any recommended resources for inspiration to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)?
I have my own things, but I think that inspiration is something that you can`t share. People are different, personalities are different and inspirations are different. For someone it may be rap music, for someone it may be a good book. But if you are wondering what I am reading, then now it is "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" by Robin S. Sharma. I am reading it for the second time, it is so good.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
No matter what, no matter where and no matter who you are people will doubt you, so make them sad by doing the things you want.
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Actually not really, but I have this quotation that is on my wall back home that say "Blaming others is nothing more than excusing yourself..", I could say it is something I look up to.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Don`t change because people want you to change, change because you want to change.
Thank you for coming out and talking with me, I had a great time.
Thank you for having me, I really enjoyed this.
That is a short interview we had with Juris Arajs, a person who shoved, that hard work pays off. Next week I will post an interview with a young and talanted 100 meter sprinter from Poland.