Peking (dpa) - Luis Scola's trademark was for a long time his deep black mane, which he painstakingly kept in check with an equally black band. During the World Cup in China shimmer clearly visible in the Argentine basketball legend already gray spots by the new short hairstyle.
Externally, the 39-year-old is slow to note the advanced age. Nevertheless, the last remaining member of a Golden Generation leaves his team with the semi-finals dream of the great times again.
"Luis Scola is a leader who always shows up when you need him," writes the newspaper "Clarin" in a hymn-like tribute to the duel with USA defeat France on Friday (2 pm / Magentasport) in Beijing for the final round. «Una Leyenda» («A legend»).
Scola was already at the biggest success of Argentine basketball history alongside the World Cup title in 1950. In 2004, "El Alma" (The Soul) defeated the US in the semi-finals of the Olympics and won gold in a duel with Italy. Two years earlier, the then 22-year-old was still on the pitch with his hair still short, as Argentina destroyed Germany's biggest ever World Cup chance for superstar Dirk Nowitzki in the semi-finals and then defeated Yugoslavia in the final.
Companions such as Manu Ginóbili and Fabricio Oberto are long since retired, Scola still at the height of his creativity. In China, he is the third-oldest player in the entire World Cup and by far the oldest player in the Argentine team, on the 39-year-olds follows only the 28-year-old Facundo Campazzo. "I understand that everyone is talking about my age," says Scola in China, addressing the ongoing theme. "But that's not how my brain works. I'm not going down the floor and thinking, oh my god, I'm older than these guys, they're five, ten, fifteen years younger than me. This is not a goodbye tour - this is a World Cup! »
Scola has the longest mission time per game (28 minutes) in Argentina with Co-Star Campazzo, scoring the highest points of his team (17.8), getting the most rebounds (7.3). Just in the last six minutes of the surprise quarter-final coup over Serbia, the captain scored ten points.
"He is our leader," says Campazzo, who as a clock and two-time Euroleague champion of Real Madrid actually had a claim to that predicate. Scola's value does not just show on the floor. Long before the tournament, he took away coach Sergio Hernández. They could reach the semi-finals, Scola told him, the coach said in China. "I asked him if he was safe. And he repeated it: Certainly, yes. That's Scola. That describes what Scola is. "
After a long spell in Spain and ten years in the NBA, the power forward left his career behind for good pay in China. Actually, he had already announced that his time in the national jersey would end after the World Cup. With the semi-final, but now the Olympics qualification is perfect, Scola could start in Tokyo at his fifth summer games. "Who says that Luis will not go there," said his father Mario Scola during the World Cup at Super Deportivo Radio. "He is very obstinate. This is a mistake and at the same time a quality. »