Lauri Markkanen’s personality has changed during the NBA years.
Seven years in the United States does wonders for even the most hardened person from Härmä.
When Lauri Markkanen played basketball at the age of 16 in his hometown team BC Jyväskylä, the coach Jari Laine saw very typical Finnish features in the young man.
Markkanen was a humble player who did not want the spotlight on himself in the locker room. Despite his great potential, he didn’t talk about his goals out loud.
And like so many Finnish men, Markkanen didn’t really show his emotions – whether things went well or badly on the field.
The essence of the 16-year-old Finnish promise was summed up in a couple of considerations for the coach.
– He wasn’t the type to take over the farm. Quite a humble worker and probably a great teammate, Laine describes.
– He set goals, but he certainly kept them more to himself. As a young man at that time, there was no way to tell what was going to happen.
Well, what happened?
AOP / USA TODAY SPORTS
At the age of 25, Markkanes became a star player in the NBA, the absolute number one player of the Finnish national team and an exemplary representative of the blue and white colors, who is also admired in the United States.
“The Finnisher’s” national team mate Sasu Salin, 31, has noticed a clear change in his friend over the past eight years, when they have seen each other at Susijeng gatherings.
Americanism has begun to catch on to an increasing extent in Markkanen’s Härmälä basic character.
– It has been seen more every year. Self-confidence can be seen in the fact that he dares to say things. And when he has progressed every year in the basket as well, it gives keys to other things as well. He dares to speak and is louder anyway, Salin reveals.
The new, louder Markkanen now also takes on a role in the dressing room.
– When something needs to be said, Lauri will say it. He doesn’t make the longest speeches in the world, but now that he’s been with the Yankees, he’s used to a lot of talking.
According to Salini, Markkanen’s increased self-confidence also shines in those situations when the team switches to free time after games.
The NBA star’s sense of humor still comes from home pranks, even though his Americanness has otherwise settled into him.
– It’s that kind of humor from Jyväskylä. A person from Helsinki will laugh at it. I just don’t know if it’s laughing at Lauri or at Lauri’s stories, Salin jokes.
– The humor goes a little with the group. We usually have a really bad sense of humor with the national team guys, that’s how it is.
Salin believes that Markkanes will also have fun in the army with new smoking buddies.
– He is a bit quiet at first, but then when we get down to it fashion, then there will be no quiet moments with Lauri. At the end of the day, there is certainly enough to talk about in the military home.
Just like in the locker room, it’s also customary to make fun of the guys in the army huts. Salin is afraid that the basketball player can be a more accepting party when it comes to the jacks.
– I think that Lauri would like to play pranks, but he doesn’t have very good ones. Fortunately, at least I’m even better at that. Shouldn’t we play a few pranks on it too, if someone dares?
Yes, Master Sergeant
Kimmo brandt / epa / aop
As a top athlete, Markkanen is used to receiving orders from his coach, so he should be under the command of the army like a fish in water.
– Isn’t he quite good with that? After all, he joined the national team at a very young age. Henkka (Henrik Dettmann) and Lassi (Bring it) have shouted at it at first, Salin recalls.
– Nowadays, he’s just so damn good that I don’t feel like yelling at him. Let’s just say that “jeez, jeez, Lauri, whatever you want”, jokes Salin.
Markkanen himself will not have time to advance to leadership positions during one more short summer. However, there would be a potential for a career development that would be a waste of time.
– He is not quite ready for that (leadership role) yet, but if there were only desires, then why not. I think that kind of character can be seen in him, Salin says.