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Sebastián Herrera, the Chilean basketball star: “We put aside that mentality of narrowly losing”

Sebastián Herrera (26 years old) won the second most important trophy in European basketball in 2024. He did it with Paris Basketball, a club he joined less than a year ago and where he arrived with a large entourage of teammates he had in Telekom. Baskets Bonn, where they won the Champions League. He reflects on that and the work that the national team has done during Juan Manuel Córdoba’s process with La Tercera.

You have been playing in Europe for nine seasons, what continues to surprise you the most?

What surprises me every year is how the game changes, how the infrastructure also improves. Organizations and coaches are also developing a lot and increasingly young players come with more talent, physically better. It’s incredible, every year they try to improve something and that always surprises me.

What have been the keys for Paris this season?

One of the keys obviously is that we brought many boys with whom we won the Champions League (third most important tournament on the continent) with Telekom Baskets Bonn from Germany. Six boys plus the coaching staff came to Paris and that obviously helps a lot for the integration of the other boys as well. We already knew what the teacher wanted and what the system was like, so it is much easier to continue improving. Since we already had a system that worked, we already came with a winning mentality and I think that was very key for this year.

Did you see yourself lifting a title of this level at 26 years old?

No, obviously titles of this magnitude rarely come to players or opportunities are rarely given to players here. I just wanted to first play in an important league in Europe and establish myself a little, but I didn’t think this success would happen to me at such a young age.

Not only does he shine in Europe, he is also a reference for this team. What is it about this team that has achieved such good results?

Something important for this team is that we began to put aside that mentality of narrowly losing, but now with the new group, which has had good results in the youth teams, we try to have a winning mentality, to change that habit that we had. Try to go out and win every game against whoever. It’s a bit like what happened in football several years ago, trying to ensure that whoever is in charge does the same, the important thing is to go out and win no matter what, even if they have more talent or play on better teams.

This year FEBA Chile changes its president for the first time since 2017. What is the balance of this management?

I highly value the work of Iran (Arcos). I have been in the national team since before he arrived and I have seen changes in organizational matters, in terms of how they treat us with the national team. In addition, it incorporated 3×3, which is also a very dynamic and very popular sport, which several kids can play. I think that is also important to promote sports. For this reason, I highly value how he has acted as president.

What is still missing in the country to promote basketball even more?

Obviously there are many things missing, but I think we are on the right track. I think basketball is gaining popularity lately. It is a very popular sport worldwide and in Chile children have also been joining clubs, there are more coaches, better conditions and more infrastructure. I think we have to continue improving this, continue improving the youth teams, the youth coaches who are trained in the best way, I think it is something very important.

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