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News » Hansen happy to be plying his trade in Europe

Hansen happy to be plying his trade in Europe

Hansen happy to be plying his trade in Europe MADRID ? He had an early helping of tapas in the NBA, a 41-game stint with the Atlanta Hawks back in the 2003-04 season. But now Travis Hansen ? the Mountain View High graduate, Utah Valley State product and former BYU star ?

is living the charmed life in Europe. Since the day he left Dynamo Moscow in Russia and signed earlier this year with perennial Spanish League power and Euroleague contender Real Madrid, sports fans around the city here ? even those whose first allegiance is to Real Madrid's high-profile soccer team by the same name ? know who he is. He's making a solid seven figures mostly tax-free, and much of the basics ? including comfortable housing ? are paid for by the club. And he is playing somewhere he and his family truly enjoy, a place that ? though they still return for a time every year to their house in Utah ? he now calls home. "Three years in Russia we had a great time, a great experience, a lot of great friends. A very fun time," said Hansen, whose Real Madrid club plays host to the Jazz today for a preseason game that is part of the NBA's EuropeLive 2009 tour. Utah lost its first and only other game on the tour to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday in London. "We felt like it was an opportunity to change, and obviously we love Spain," added Hansen, who previously played two years in the same country for highly regarded Tau Ceramica. "My wife (LaRee) loves it. I love it ? the food, the culture, the people, the best league in Europe." Whatever urge he may once have had to forge a long-term NBA career is yesterday's news ? especially knowing how the Spanish ACB league is Europe's highest-drawing, pulling in more fans on an annual basis than the top leagues in Italy, Germany, France and Russia. "We're really happy we're here. The desire (to still play in the NBA) is long-gone," Hansen said before practice Wednesday at Palacio de Deportes de lat Comunidad de Madrid, the 15,000-seat arena where tonight Real will host the Jazz . "Obviously it's a big desire for guys that have never played in the NBA, because that's kind of the next step up and everyone wants to try to see how they can do there," he added. "But I've already played there. I had a great time; it was fun . . . Now we just kind of found our little niche, and we really enjoy it." Hansen said he's been working lately to expand the reach of his own Little Heroes Foundation, and the work he does with BYU Basketball coach Dave Rose's Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation, from both Utah and Russia to Spain and Africa. Though he's lived here in Madrid just a short time, he's also quick with a restaurant recommendation. But with preseason play for Real under way, Hansen's focus remains squarely on Basketball. Expectations always are high in Madrid, where Real ? made over this year with eight new players and a new head coach ? has claimed a record 30 Spanish League championships and eight treasured Euroleague titles. "It's a great situation," said Hansen, a swingman who played mostly shooting guard in Russia but will play more at small forward for Real. "Real Madrid is such a big club," the self-admitted "huge Jazz fan growing up" added. "I mean, it's a huge club over here. It's very professional, very first-class. It's a lot like the NBA." Jazz in Europe Jazz at Real Madrid Today, 12:45 p.m.Madrid, Spain TV: NBATV Radio: none e-mail:

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 9, 2009


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