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“Our goal is a medal”

By Niki Bakouli/

Bostjan Nachbar is the biggest name ever in the roster of defending German champions Brose Baskets and, having qualified to Top16, leads the club from Bamberg to one of its best seasons ever. The experienced Slovenian forward is also having a great season that will be completed in this year’s Eurobasket in his country. He talked to Eurohoops about Germany’s basketball, Euroleague, even the NBA and he wants it all, even a medal in Eurobasket 2013.

- I guess you have answered already that a lot of time… why you decided, last summer to sign for Brose Baskets. Five months later, how… right you were, for making this decision?

“I decided to play for Brose Baskets, because I knew that it was a very good organization, it’s a high level team. I heard many good things about coach Fleming and I also knew I was going to play a big role here. So I’m very happy with the decision”.

- Do you agree that your “the team first” mentality matched in the best way possible with what you found at Brose Baskets and with Chris Fleming’s mentality?

“Yes, I think I’m a good fit for this team and I like the way Chris is coaching”.

- It’s the second time in Brose Baskets’ history the team qualifies to Top16. In an interview on “Spiegel”, in the beginning of the season, you did say that Bamberg’s qualification to TOP16 was a realistic goal.

“Yes, Top16 was a realistic goal. It was not easy to achieve it but it was one of the biggest goals of the season and we made it. So for sure we were happy about being one of the Top16 teams”.

- You managed to reach Top16, after two overtimes at the last game of the regular season. Do you remember these last seconds? What can we expect from you from now on?

“The last game for making the Top16 was the game against Partizan. That was a really difficult game. I think both teams would have deserved it to make it to the Top16. Unfortunately there was only place for one”.

- What about BBL? After you played in so many leagues what can you say about Bundesliga’s level in any area, from the administration of the league up to the facilities and capacity?

“I think BBL is a strong league I think it’s actually a league that is still growing and getting stronger and the best thing is the great organization and full arenas”.

- Can you compare your experience in Germany with the one you had in Slovenia, in Italy, in Turkey and in Russia?

“I think the fans stand out, it’s great. There’s a big rivalry between teams compared to other places and just the way of life. I think it’s very nice here. The people are nice, the fans are nice and the city I live in is cool so it’s a good experience”.

- If you think overall your career at the NBA, how easy is to survive over there and make a name for yourself? What the young players, who dream to be NBAers, need to know?

“It’s easier to make it to the NBA than to stay in the NBA. The competition there is even bigger. The first thing everybody who wants to play in the NBA needs to know is that you have to be confident. If you don’t believe in yourself nobody else will. I think I learned that while I played there”.

- What’s your strongest memory of the Rockets, of Hornets and of the Nets? Do you follow the NBA now?

“The Rockets was just being drafted there and playing my first couple of years with some great players, playing for Rudy Tomjanovic and Jeff Van Gundy. The Hornets were the team where I first started playing more and the Nets were the team where I played a lot and we made it to the playoff games so I have nice memories. I do follow the NBA but not as closely as I used to”.

- Which were the most valuable lessons you had living and working in USA?

“For sure, that in order to become an even better Basketball player you need to work on your game every day. I think improving individually is the key to make it in the NBA”.

- How surprised you felt, in 2008, when you came back in Europe, after six years in the NBA?

“I think European basketball has improved a lot in the last 6 – 10 years and it keeps improving. It became more physical and competition is bigger”.

- In which point you stopped thinking about you going back to the NBA? Or there is still a chance?

“I never stopped thinking about it but at the same time I’m only focused on the present so we’ll see what happens after the season”.

- What’s your opinion on the “flopping rule” in the NBA? Do you think it would be useful in Europe? What’s the most memorable flopping situation you remember from your career at the NBA?

“Personally I like the rule but sometimes it’s hard to judge whether the player is flopping or really he’s taking a charge. I don’t want to make a too big deal out of it but there are always situations when players trying to fake the referees so it’s a tough one”.

- You have mentioned the use of “illegal defense” on making the game faster. Do you dream for this day to come in Europe? How will it help the game?

“Yes, I think illegal defense would tremendously change the European basketball. The game would become even faster, even more open. I think you could see players using their individual skills even more. But personally I don’t see it any time soon in Europe and that’s unfortunate”.

- Slovenia is the host country of the next Eurobasket. Will you be there? What you wish for this competition?

“Yes, I will be there. I think it’s definitely going to be the biggest sports event in Slovenian history and our goal is to win one of the medals and it’s going to be hard but we believe we can do it”.

- You have played for Benetton Treviso, a team no longer exists. There is a rumor that Riccardo Pittis and Claudio Coldebella are gonna try to take over. Is there a chance after you retirement to be the president of a basketball club? Or you see yourself more as a coach?

“I would be really happy if anybody would help the Treviso Basketball Club because it’s an amazing place for basketball and unfortunately because of their financial problems they don’t exist anymore. If I would be invited after my career, to help out with the team I would gladly do it”.

- You are… a Twitter guy. Can you tweet why fans should follow Bamberg? I remind you, you have 140 characters.

“…because Bamberg is a freak city”.

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  • Dr. Mitch Smith

    Having followed Boki throughout his NBA career I can say he is a class act. In every interview with him he emphasized two things: hard work and patience. It was terrific to see it all pay off for him in his final stop with the Nets. I am sure that Brose Basket couldn’t get a better veteran to lead them this season. The NBA’s loss is European basketball’s gain.