By Rigas Dardalis/ email@example.com
Zeljko Obradovic, winner of 8 Euroleague trophies, gave a profound interview to Vasilis Skountis for the Greek channel OTE TV in the show “Pick’N'Roll” and talked about everything. Of course, there was a trip down the memory lane for Zoc’s Panathinaikos days, he admitted that after his retirement he would love to own a beach bar in Greece, but he also spoke about the interest of NBA teams towards him.
As he said two teams contacted him indirectly and despite the fact that he feels ready to coach on the other side of the Atlantic, his mind is now focused to Fenerbahce. After all he didn’t considered the interest really big, since no one tried to reach him directly.
- Coach, did you had a serious chance last summer to go to the NBA?
“No, sincerely no. There were some rumors about it and two NBA teams contacted some agents and not me personally. Some of them were considering some kind of interview, to go there and be interviewed by them. I said that I give interviews to journalists, not… you know. If you want to speak with me, first of all you have to come here. Secondly, if someone wants me, he knows everything about me. So, what else is there to speak of? If I am ready, if I know my job? This is really strange. In any case I was ready to meet their people and talk, but no one contacted me directly. They said to the agents that I should be ready (for contacts), etc. But I never gave to this any serious though, not until someone contacts me directly”.
- You are still young…
“The most important thing is that I feel young. After my experience, which was good for my and for (former assistant) Dimitris Itoudis with the Detroit Pistons (ed. note: they attended their training camp last year), I said that I am ready to coach there. Before that, it would be very difficult for me to say something like that. Experience always helps in any decision. Now, I know that I don’t have any problem to coach there and I believe that not only me, but many European coaches have the quality to be there. The question is if those NBA people decide one day to get a coach…
- If they will give him freedom...
“Yes, to give him freedom to work and trust the coach from Europe. I hope that one day they will. Only that”.
Do you believe that you deserve to be the first to go?
“No, I will never though of something like that. It’s not on my mind, it’s not important for me. Sincerely for me, the only thing on my mind is Fenerbahce. This is what I am thinking, I have a two years contract and as I say to everybody, contract is one thing and real life is something different. So I work really hard, I will continue to do so and we will see what happens. My mind is only here and I don’t have time to think anything else”.
Obradovic also spoke about the Kenan Sipahi, the MVP of U18 FIBA Europe championship and his player in Fenerbahce/ Ulker.
- We spoke also with Kenan Sipahi and he said that he really admires Diamantidis and he wants to be like him. What they have in common?
“The play the same sport. Ok, I am joking. He is a very talented player that he likes hard work. Like every young point guard, he is having a hard time. I spend time with him in order to guide him and make him work hard. Everything depends on him. I spoke with him in the summer and told him that I want to give him the chance to play, not just be on the bench. But I said to him that his attitude and his devotion to basketball will decide how much he plays. Until now, I am really please by his work. He will have ups and downs during the season, but who hasn’t? Diamantidis was like that in his first year in Panathinaikos. However we can’t compare Diamantidis and Sipadi, but it’s good that Sipahi understands how much important is Diamantidis as a player. I said to him that Diamantidis is also a great person, something that’s equally important. So if he wants to be like Diamantidis, it’s the best for everyone”.