I was born in Villanueva de la Serena, province of Badajoz, 28th September 1981. I am very proud of my village although since I was 13 I have lived abroad because of my work. Basketball has been part of my life since I can remember. My first memories are linked with the images of my father playing and training. I remember myself going with him to the trainings and watching him play in our village's team, Doncel La Serena.
Whenever we can, Ana (my wife) and I come back to Villanueva. There are our families, our friends and our dogs.
I remember that my exit from Villanueva to live and play in Vitoria was not something traumatic. From Vitoria I received the proposal after a Junior Team Championship, we shared our opinions at home and my parents and I decided that it could be a good chance. My passion was to play but I did not plan to become professional, probably I did not know what it could mean. I remember those years as years of effort and work, always playing, training and studying, surrounded by mates that were in the same situation, always sharing everything with them. They made us work hard but it was a crucial part in my formation as player.
Very soon I started to share the trainings in Vitoria with the concentrations of the different Spanish National Teams in several categories. There I met Pau, Juan Carlos, Felipe, Carlos, Berni, Sergi, David, Antonio, Germán... Friends and mates from then till now. With them we were champions of Europe and champions of Manheinm Tournament, something like unofficial world champions. An injury did not enable me to participate in the team that was World Junior Champion in Lisboa but I still remember that game that I had to watch in the row of seats, the final against USA.
When I finished my junior year, in Vitoria they helped me to find a team where I could be passed and continue my progression before entering TAU. I only wanted to play and I also know that I was not prepared to play TAU. The chance of playing in Alicante in second division appeared and it was a good decision. The season started very bad because we were a young team and without experience but slowly we stared to know each other and we reached our goal, pass to ACB, first division. I continued there my second season, then playing ACB but we could not avoid returning to second division. It was my first year at maximum level but it helped me to adapt to the competition.
The following season, I played again in ACB but I changed club. In accordance with TAU, we decided that the best place could be Fuenlabrada and at the end of he season I received the best news of my career: I was called to join the national team and I played my first competition with the Spanish Team, the World Championship of Indianapolis on 2002 where we ended fifths.
After that summer, I signed up with TAU Vitoria. As in any elite team, the begginings were difficult but slowly I adapted to the team and I lived there the three following seasons. We won many matches, we were Champions of Copa del Rey (His Majesty?s Cup), we played the final match for the ACB league and for the Euroleague.
When season 2004-2005 ended, Ana and I faced a new challenge. Changing of country and trying to play in the best league of the world, NBA. Some options were in the air ad, after thinking over it and seeing the place, we decided to move to Toronto and play in NBA. As all new experiences, it was difficult to adapt but you can do anything after months of work and humility. The season was a bit disappointing because of team play but it gave me experience to face the future.
2006 was a summer plenty of possibilities. We had World Championship at hand. All of us knew it was our main objective. We did it, at last we were World Champions and everything that came after: Principe de Asturias reward, Extremadura's medal and the recognition of this beautiful sport.
He made his debut with Spanish National Team in the World Championship of Indianapolis (USA) on 2002
Silver medal in Europe Championship of Sweden on 2003
Gold medal in World Championship of Japan 2006
Silver medal in Europe Championship of Spain 2007
Silver medal in Olympic Games of Beijing 2008
Gold medal in Europe Championship of Lituania on 2011
Silver medal in Olympic Games of London 2012
Gold medal in Mannheim 1998. Unofficial World Championship
Gold medal in Europe Championship of Varna on 1998
Bronze medal in Youth Europe Championship of Ohrid on 2000
He played in LEB (Spanish second division) in Lucentum Alicante where he averaged 9.0 points and 2.1 rebounds. He signed up as a guard substitute and became as a key player in the advance of the team to first division, ACB league.
He made his debut in ACB with Lucentum Alicante, where he averaged 8.6 points and 25.3 minutes per match. He was the main guard but cannot avoid the descent to LEB league.
He arrived to Fuenlabrada, an ACB team, averaging 9.7 points, 1.7 assists, 83.2% effectiveness from the free throw line and played an average of 18.6 minutes per game. His season ended well, knowing many Spanish and foreign teams want him for the following season.
He came back to Vitoria as player of the main staff of TAU BASKONIA. In the ACB league, he averaged 6.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals. In Euro league he averaged 7.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1steals. All flavored with 40.5% effectiveness in triple points.
Second season in TAU BASKONIA. In ACB league, he averaged 7.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals in 41 matches. In 19 Euro league matches, he averaged 7.2 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals. He won The King's Cup.
In 39 ACB matches with TAU, he averaged 12.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.0 assistances. His effectiveness was 56.7% (114-201) in two points and 82.3% (107-130) in free throws. In Euro league, he averaged 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals. He reached 42.1% from the three point range. After having defeated the favorite, CSKA of Moscow they reached the Final Four of the Euro League Tournament where they lost the final against Maccabi.
He signed up as free agent August 3rd, 2005 with the Toronto Raptors (NBA). He averaged 23.1 minutes, 5.4 points, 4.5 assistances, and 2.2 rebounds in his first season.
Consolidation season in NBA. José Manuel used his previous experience and while he accepted the "Sixth man" role in his team with more than 20 minutes per match. His best moment came in the play offs where he became one of the key players of the team, reaching an average of 13 points per match. Toronto won the Division Atlantic Champion title. Despite the first round loss against New Jersey, all considered the season a success.
Jose Manuel became indispensable in the rotation of the Raptors. T J Ford's injury, that kept him apart from the team for a number of weeks, has giving the chance to see some of Jose Manuel's best games in the NBA. His name arose for his first All Star nomination, a possibility that was not concrete. The team lost again in the first round and left a bittersweet taste for their fans. At the end of the season the Raptors offered José Manuel a contract for five seasons and the starting point guard position. With the Spanish National Team he managed to play in the Olympic Finals, and lost in an honourable game against the USA national team.
A season that went down in history, more for the personal record by José Manuel, that for the victories of the team. Jose achieves a historic milestone in the NBA, a 98.1% accuracy from the free throw line for the season. The Raptors do not reach the playoffs after two straight seasons of falling in the first round. José Manuel resigns to attend to the European Championship in Poland to recover for next season.
Season of transition for the Raptors that ends with the team out of the playoffs. José Manuel plays about 64 games with statistics of over 10 points and 6 assists per game. An injury in the last game of preparation makes it impossible for him to play the World Cup in Turkey. Spain ended in sixth place in the final classification.
Toronto began its reconstruction without Chris Bosch and without veterans. José Manuel is the new captain of the team and the season is a learning process for the young players of the Canadian team. After two seasons without attending the national team, José Manuel leads the Spanish team that wins the European title for the second time in a row. In Lithuania, José Manuel plays his best basketball. The games against Lithuania in the preliminary round and in the final against France are proof of that.
2003-04 CUP CHAMPION WITH TAU BASKONIA
2003 EUROPEAN BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNER-UP (SWEDEN)
2006 WORLD CHAMPION (JAPAN)
2007 ATLANTIC DIVISION CHAMPION WITH TORONTO RAPTORS
2007 2nd PLACE OF THE EUROPEAN BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP (SPAIN)
2008 2nd PLACE OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES (BEIJING)
2011 EUROPEAN BASKETBALL CHAMPION (LITUANIA)
2012 2nd PLACE OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES (LONDON)
A w a r d s
2000-01 BEST NEWCOMER. ACB. Proaguas Costablanca Alicante. "Gigantes del Basket" Magazine
2001-02 MOST IMPROVED. ACB. Jabones Pardo Fuenlabrada. "Gigantes del Basket" Magazine
2003-04 SIXTH MAN AWARD. ACB. Tau Cerámica. "Gigantes del Basket" Magazine
2003-04 ALL FIRST TEAM OF EURO LEAGUE
2004-05 STARTING FIVE DREAM TEAM. Liga ACB. Tau Cerámica
2006 EXTREMADURA'S MEDAL
2006 "PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS" SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
2007 CHOSEN BEST GUARD OF THE EUROPEAN BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP AND MEMBER OF ALL EUROBASKET DREAM TEAM
2007 CULTURE AWARD 2007 JUNTA DE EXTREMADURA