It's been 21 years since Rudy Fernandez made his professional debut with Joventut Badalona in 2002. Since the very beginning of his career, it's been clear that Fernandez was destined to have a standout career as a basketball player - he won the EuroLeague Rising Star award in 2006-07, his EuroLeague debut season, but probably even he would have smirked if he was told he would be a three-time EuroLeague champion. Indeed, at 38 years of age, Fernandez has added another accolade to an already successful career.
Tribute to the champs: Rudy Fernandez
Rudy, as he likes to be called, is far from the numbers he used to post during his heyday. His age and the recurrent injuries that have plagued his career over the last decade do not allow him to be a centerpiece of a team anymore. The start of the season did not look too good for Rudy, he did not make his debut until Round 15 due to an injury and after that, he even missed a few more games. Despite that, he averaged more than 17 minutes on court in 20 EuroLeague appearances this season - off the bench, of course - to average 4.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists. During the regular season he never scored in double digits, while in Game 2 of the playoffs against Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade, he exploded for 16 points in less than 19 minutes, including 4-of-6 shooting on threes.
At the Final Four, Rudy stayed really close to his season numbers. He scored 2 points against FC Barcelona in the semifinal and then 3, plus 2 rebounds and 2 assists, against Olympiacos Piraeus in the championship game but it was still a crucial contribution as Los Blancos won the game by a single point. It was Rudy's third EuroLeague crown.
Together with the two Sergios - Llull and Rodriguez, Rudy has experienced the most memorable moments of his career - both at Real Madrid and the Spanish national team. It is an older generation of players that is surely seeing some of their last seasons as top-level pros. In 12 EuroLeague seasons with Real since 2011, Rudy has played a total of 120 games and scored 2,658 points. At this point, it remains to be seen whether Rudy will be back for another dance in 2023-24, but he has undoubtedly left a mark on the EuroLeague history books and will always remain a player for the ages.