By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Zeljko Obradovic together with his mentor Dusan Ivkovic and many other important sports figures from Serbia, including players like Dejan Tomasevic, Milan Tomic, Zarko Paspalj and coach Dragan Sakota, are in Athens this Friday. The Serbian embassy organized a special celebration for the influence of Serbs in Greek sports and the two legendary coaches will be made honorary citizens, Zoc of the city of Athens and Duda of Piraeus.
Eurohoops.net had the chance to chat with coach Obradovic who is taking a break after 21 straight years of his coaching career. He is just 52 years old, already won 8 Euroleague titles and he will have the chance to take part in the Detroit Pistons training camp. So, his travel to USA will be business of pleasure? “It was a good opportunity for me to go now, because all this years it was impossible for me any kind of contact like this and because we have very good relationship with the people in Detroit. They invited us to go over there, to stay in the preseason camp, to watch all the practices and all the games that they play this period and to stay until the first official game. Just this. I never said that I am not a big fan of the NBA, but it’s really very, very different compared to the Euroleague and it’s good for me and for Dimitris (Itoudis) to go there and have this experience”.
Still there is room also for pleasure: “It’s more a chance to see how is everything over there, the way they work and I have big family in the United States, many cousins. They called me, I don’t know how many times, the last few years to go over there to meet them and spend some good time with them, so we will be between… everything. Anyhow, I believe that we will have a good time”.
We asked his opinion for next season’s Euroleague and he didn’t really have anything to say, since he is keeping his distance from basketball: “I don’t know. It’s very difficult to say something, because I am really out from the moment I decided not to coach Panathinaikos. I decided after that to have one year without basketball and, believe me, I am really out of everything. I don’t talk with no one, I try to do the things that it was impossible for me to do all those years and I try to spend more time with my family and my friends, something that makes me really, really happy”.
And when will he be back on a bench? “I don’t know. It’s difficult to say. My decision for this season is to rest for one year, so it’s not really the time to talk about this now. Who knows what will happen next year”…