Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 10/2/12

We’ve gotten a lot of news and interviews lately from NBA 3X events, which are put on by the NBA around the world to spread the game of basketball. Several current and former NBA players have been involved, including former San Antonio Spurs defensive-ace Bruce Bowen, who is in Spain.

Bowen did an interview with a local Spanish news outlet while he was there. It seems like he’s having a great time, but he also talked a little basketball.

Bowen easily recognizes, along with many others, the level of talent brought to the table by European basketball players, bringing up names like Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio and the Gasol brothers, and that’s just in Spain.

Bowen was also asked to name who will be his successor as a defensive-minded, lockdown kind of player.

“In the area because I love Serge Ibaka played with heart, with passion. It has good defense and is a great blocker,” Bowen said (translated from Spanish). “Also Tyson Chandler. For the exterior, Iman Shumpert, the Knicks, and Avery Bradley, the Celtics. Both are very physical.”

I like the comparison to Iman Shumpert. I think that’s the one I agree with the most.

Bowen also had the pleasure in his career to guard some of the greatest of all time, including Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. He didn’t say who he thought was better, just that they were extremely tough to defend.

“Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are the best. Jordan had a unique ability, was a student of the game and very intelligent. He knew far too well what he thought was the best option for him and the team. Kobe Bryant plays hard, no matter if you win or lose by 20 points. Not for other NBA stars who are let go when they can not win.”

Lastly, Bowen addressed the constant accusations throughout his career that he was a “dirty player.”

“It is an opinion, I do not care. Everyone can think what you like, is free, but my friends, my teammates, my coaches all know I'm not dirty, it was a very physical game, very aggressive, but not dirty. Pat Riley said many years ago: 'Bruce is not dirty. He's a good man, but he plays hard and is required against players like Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan.’”

Bowen always has to shake those haters off.

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