Norris Cole, Maccabi: 'Nothing can touch basketball'

Feb 07, 2018 by Norris Cole - Tel Aviv, Israel Print
Norris Cole, Maccabi:  'Nothing can touch basketball'

It was tough for me to miss the games I sat out last month when I was injured, but you have to do what you have to do to get back healthy. The training staff did their job in making sure I went through all the steps to come back at full strength. Even when I was sidelined, I tried to help my teammates keep their morale high, keep their spirits high, by encouraging them. Sort of like a coach, I could see things from the sidelines and in between timeouts, at halftime or at practice, I could call someone over and tell them what I see and what can be done better.

When you are on a team where someone is out, that leaves room for someone to step up. John DiBartolomeo stepped up an did his thing in the game against Bamberg. It was big. We needed a boost of energy, someone to make a play to pull away and he gave us a two- or three-minute burst of plays that made the difference in the game. John works hard. One thing you never have to worry about with John is that he's always giving 110%, which allows him to always be able to compete. And this is only his first year playing EuroLeague, so I think the more experience he gets, the better he will be.

We play Barcelona on Thursday and we're fighting to stay in the playoff hunt and have to stay focused on what we have to do. Barcelona comes here after a coaching change. Normally when a team has a new coach or fires their old coach, the next game the team comes out playing very inspired, playing very hard together. So we expect them to come ready to play. But our approach will be the same. They're an athletic team, a long team. They have a lot of wings that can do multiple things, defend and shoot, help out rebounding. They beat us pretty good last time, so we're going to have to be ready to play. We have to execute, we have to protect our home court. That's the approach we have to have.

As I told you last time, I am a foodie and I love eating out in Tel Aviv. The food here is fresh, there's good variety, good atmosphere. I've tried some new restaurants recently. I just went to a new sushi restaurant called Kyoto.

Topolopompo is another place I tried recently. My go-to place is Yaffo-Tel Aviv. That's where I take friends and family when they come to visit. When I went to Barcelona, I ate at a restaurant called Spice. Great, great food there. That's probably the best place I've been to. I highly recommend it.

It's the winter and cool outside right now, so it's a good time to wear hoodies, sweaters and long sleeve t-shirts. There have been a lot of orders from my clothing line,, to Israel. As a matter of fact, a couple of games ago, I saw a little kid wearing one of my hoodies, "Success is in the Process", in Hebrew. I took a picture with him and it was really, really cool.

Recently EuroLeague TV filmed a short feature on me and they let me play a little bit with one of the cameras. That part even made it into the video. It was a new technology; I don't even know what it was called. You hold a little pole and even if you are moving around, the camera is steady. You can be active and the camera doesn't shake and stays in focus. When I saw it, I asked if I could try. They showed me how to use it and I filmed a couple of minutes. It wasn't too long, but I was able to get a feel for it.

I played football in high school and I watched some of the Super Bowl on Sunday night/Monday morning. I Facetimed my folks back home during the game. It was a good game. At the end, you never could count Tom Brady out, so I was watching until the clock went to zero. As long as there was time left, Tom Brady can pull off a comeback. So the suspense was there all the way until the end. The Eagles played a really good game and that's what you want to see in the Super Bowl. I wasn't necessarily going for either team, I just wanted to see a good game, so I was happy that it was an entertaining, competitive game till the end.

The aggressive nature of football helped me a lot as a basketball player. I never worried about contact on the basketball court because of the contact I was used to from football. I learned to be able to drive and make contact and not worry, because football is a full-contact sport. And as a quarterback, being able to lead went hand to hand with being a point guard, so football helped me a lot with basketball. I also ran track and played baseball in high school. Sports was something that I loved to do. In the winter it was basketball season. In the summer I played baseball and ran track. And in the fall it was football. That was just how I came up.

When I got to college, I missed playing the other sports a little bit, but I love basketball so much that being able to focus on it helped me to get so much better. That's why I was able to get drafted, because I focused so much on basketball. But at times I did miss football, putting on the pads and going out there. And I missed being on the track and competing, doing the long jump, things like that. At the end of the day, though, nothing can touch the feeling of competing on the basketball court.