Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum made international headlines when he delivered a gruesome groin punch to Juan Carlos Navarro during a quarterfinals match between France and Spain at the 2012 London Olympics.
The low blow drew criticism from many corners, particularly because of his huge wind-up and his direct hit. During an exchange with Blazersedge at Monday's media day, Batum answered a series of questions about the incident, attemping to set the record straight.
The strongest assertion: Batum said that he has received gratitude and support from around the globe, even from members of the basketball community.
"I won't say any names but Spanish people and Spanish media were truly mad at me on Twitter," Batum acknowledged. "I got some bad things, trust me. [But] people all around the world, on Twitter, or media, or people, even coaches and players from the other teams, thanked me."
Why? For upholding the Olympics spirit? For getting in a good lick on Navarro? Because Spain had it coming?
"I won't say what they told me, but trust me a lot of people thanked me," he repeated. "I won't say, but they just thanked me. Trust me, a lot, a lot of people. Not especially from France but from everywhere. I won't say that's good. I'm not happy or glad about it."
Another key clarification: Batum claimed that he was not specifically aiming for Navarro's privates.
"Of course, you have to understand, I didn't want to punch him here," he said. "I'm not like that. I'm not like that, come on. I tried to get his arm. I was looking for his arm, not his..."
"I'm not the young guy, the rookie I used to be the last four years," he said. "Now, I'm a totally new guy. I might change, you could see it. What happened last game, I showed some emotion. Not to be shy. To be more vocal... I am [emotional]. You'll see more from me this year."
So you're going to go around swinging fists below belly buttons on the regular?
"I won't say I'll fight every game, don't say that," Batum clarified, laughing.