Russian basketball club UGMK is based in the city of Ekaterinburg. The club signed a contract with Margo Didek, a 213 cm center of the Polish national team, in December last year. The Polish star has been playing for the Russian Super League for three months.
Q: I suppose you have been asked the question a thousand times. Could you tell us a little bit about your family? Are all of your relatives as tall as you are?
A: No, I am the tallest one. My mom is just 185 cm tall. But my dad is more than two meters tall. They never went in for sports yet they took my elder sister Katarjina – she grew fast and tall – to a basketball school. In fact, I was greatly inspired by my sister’s first taste of success and followed suit. I signed my first contract when I was 16. As for my sisters, they are shorter than me, anyway. Katarjina is 197 cm and Marta, my younger sister, is 195 cm. They’re now under contract with Spanish clubs.
Q: Do people find you curious because of your great height?
A: It’s OK with me as long as their curiosity does not wear me down. You can run against ill-mannered people in any part of the world. I try to remain cool and reserved in a variety of situations though it’s hard sometimes. I never say ‘no’ when strangers ask me to pose with them for a snapshot. I do know that any such picture will show me off to disadvantage due to my ‘XXL’ size.
Q: What about Russians? Do they show too much inquisitiveness too?
A: It’s too early to arrive at conclusions because I haven’t been to Russia long enough. So far the attitude has been good both in Ekaterinburg and on tour.
Q: Do you know the Russian basketball players well?
A: I met and played with such Russian players as Baranova, Zasulskaya, Abrosimova, Shakirova, Stepanova. But the first name that springs up when I hear about the Russian basketball is Sabonis.
Q: Well, he is actually a Lithuanian!
A: The Soviet Union was still in place when I was starting my career in basketball. So any athlete from the Soviet Union, be a Ukrainian or a Lithuanian or a Tartar, was Russian to me those days. Nowadays, Russia’s No 1 athlete is Andrei Kirilenko as far as I’m concerned. I watched him play a lot of time. He is just incredible.
Q: Are you interested in any other sports?
A: I did swimming for some time when I was a kid. I’m a soccer fan through and through.
Q: What team do you root for?
A: I’m a supporter of Real Madrid. I met a few players of the club – Raul, Morientes, Roberto Carlos. Those guys are cool when they’re off duty, and they’re real magicians when they play.
Q: Are you going to be a coach after quitting professional basketball?
A: I will make up my mind in five year’s time. I would gladly coach a junior team. I still have my doubts about being a coach of a club or a national team. Incidentally, my sister managed to do pretty well as a second coach in Gdynia, one of Poland’s top clubs. She’s about to give birth to her first child soon.
Q: Could you tell us how tall her husband is?
A: She somehow got a guy who is taller than her. He’s a basketball player too, his height is more than two years.
Q: Do you go out on dates and stuff?
A: I’m not telling you. For the record, I had several relationships with guys who were taller than me. Being a professional athlete is a setback for starting a family. It’s doubly true if you’re a woman. I’m not going to tie a knot in the near future, anyway. Not until I quit playing for a living. I might as well try my hand at doing something else when I finish my career.
Q: Could you give us a hint?
A: Maybe I’ll make a photographer. Photography is my old hobby. I take pictures using both analog and digital cameras. By the bye, I don’t take lots of pictures on sports. I’d rather photograph nature. In particular, I enjoy taking photographs of a beautiful sunset.
Translated by Guerman Grachev
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