Houston Rockets center Clint Capela gave a $2,000 bonus to all of his teammates on the Switzerland men’s basketball national team after their historic win Wednesday.
The locker room footage from Montreux, Switzerland, was shared on Instagram by Swiss professional Jeremy Landenbergue.
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Switzerland defeated Iceland, 109-85, allowing it to win Group H of FIBA EuroBasket 2021 pre-qualifying. Heading into the final game, the Swiss team faced a tough task to advance, since they had to not only win but do so by at least 20 points to earn the tiebreaker.
But led by Capela’s 18 points and 15 rebounds, the Swiss secured the win and margin. All three Group H teams were 2-2, but Switzerland (+12) defeated Iceland (+4) and Portugal (-16) on point differential.
Switzerland was +23 in the 33 minutes played by Capela, who also had a steal and the clinching block late. That plus/minus figure was the second-best of any player on the court.
A 20-point win was needed for @Swiss_Basket to advance to the #EuroBasket 2021 Qualifiers. @CapelaClint and the boys delivered.
This summer marked Capela’s return to the team after a long absence. He played for the nation’s youth teams as a child, and he competed with the national team in FIBA EuroBasket 2015 qualifying.
“I am delighted to come back to the Swiss team, a country that is dear to my heart,” Capela said upon re-joining the team. “Swiss Basketball has made tremendous progress in all areas in recent years, and I must say the return to the national team fills me up with joy.”
That joy could clearly be seen after Wednesday’s victory. Not only did Capela celebrate with jubilant home fans, but he also donated $2,000 to each of his teammates — none of whom have NBA incomes.
Capela signed a five-year, $90-million deal in July 2018, which keeps the 25-year-old under contract with Houston until July 2023. The 6-foot-10 big man averaged 16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds in 33.6 minutes per game with the Rockets last year, and he again projects as the team’s starting center for the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season.
Back home for Capela, the goal of his Swiss national team is to qualify for the FIBA EuroBasket tournament for the first time since 1955. With their latest victory, Switzerland advanced to Group E of the EuroBasket 2021 qualifiers along with Finland, Georgia, and Serbia.
But because those games are scheduled for February 2020, November 2020, and February 2021, Capela confirmed after Wednesday’s win that he will not play in the qualifying round, as he will be fulfilling his NBA duties during those times.
The EuroBasket 2021 tournament is played during the NBA offseason in August 2021, so Capela would be able to play if Switzerland can advance out of the qualifying round without him. No matter the end result, though, Capela will always have the memories from the historic win that he helped lead his home country to this week.