Juan Antonio San Epifanio
12 June 1959 |
Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||200 lb (91 kg)|
|NBA draft||1981 / Undrafted|
|Career highlights and awards|
|FIBA Hall of Fame as player|
Juan Antonio San Epifanio Ruiz (born 12 June 1959), known as "Epi", is a retired Spanish professional basketball player. Named Mister Europa Player of the Year in 1984, he is considered one of the greatest small forwards ever to play in Europe. He spent all of his s career playing with F.C. Barcelona. He became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2016.
The Aragonese holds the record among Spanish players for most national team caps with 239, over a 15-year long period. He is also the only Spanish national team player who took part in four Summer Olympic Games, from (Moscow in 1980 to Barcelona in 1992). He was a silver Olympic medalist in the 1984 Summer Olympics, and a silver medalist in EuroBasket 1983. He also won a bronze medal in EuroBasket 1991.
With F.C. Barcelona, he was a three-time finalist in the European Champions Cup (EuroLeague), twice the Saporta Cup winner, once the Korać Cup holder, seven times the Spanish national league champion, and ten times the Spanish Cup winner. His 54 points scored in a game against Joventut Badalona, in the early 80's, counts among his most memorable performances, and is the second best scoring record ever in the Spanish League. Ranko Žeravica was the one who gave him the opportunity to play for Barcelona's first team in 1979. In 1973, he made his debut with CN Helios, in the Spanish third division. He was named Best European Player of the 80's by L'Equipe.
At the Opening Ceremony of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, he was honoured with being the last to carry the Olympic torch, before handing it to the archer Antonio Rebollo, who lit the fire in the cauldron with an arrow.
San Epifanio, known by almost everyone simply as "Epi", grew up in Zaragoza, and began to play in his native city, but the local club, C.N. Helios Zaragoza, rejected him. In 1974, F.C. Barcelona signed his older brother, Herminio, to a contract. Herminio insisted that Juan would join him at the club, and so the two moved to Barcelona.
With F.C. Barcelona, Juan quickly improved his skills, and became a member of the Spanish junior national team.
In 1977, he joined the senior team and quickly became their leading man, finally breaking the long-lived dominance of Real Madrid. His teammates included Ignacio Solozábal, Juan de la Cruz, Audie Norris, Andrés Jiménez and others.
In a total of eighteen seasons with the club, he won the Spanish league title seven times (1981, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1994), the Spanish King's Cup ten times (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1991, and 1994), the Saporta Cup twice (1985–1986), the Korać Cup once (1987), and the Club World Cup once (1985). Although he reached the European Champions Cup (EuroLeague) Final 3 times (1984, 1990, 1991), he never lifted the most important trophy in European basketball. He was named the MVP of the FIBA Club World Cup's 1987 edition.
Spanish national team
The same year he debuted with F.C. Barcelona, he also made his first appearance with the Spanish national team. He appeared in a total of 239 games and is the all-time leader in national team appearances for Spain.
San Epifanio concluded his career on 25 May 1995, as F.C. Barcelona won another Spanish League title.
Since 2007, he has been a basketball commentator with Canal+ Spain.