By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Cologne, Germany –Five years after he put one of the most outstanding individuals runs in a EuroBasket ever to lead Slovenia to a first-ever gold medal and claim the MVP, Goran Dragic returned to the tournament in a typical fashion for him. With a win.
Dragic scored 19 points over 23 minutes to help Slovenia beat Lithuania on the opening day of Group B in Cologne, in an intense battle, worthy of the two national teams’ quality and reputation, a spectacle that could’ve easily been a knockout match for a medal. With this victory, the “Dragon,” is on a 10-game winning streak in EuroBaskets since Slovenia didn’t lose a game in 2017.
“Happy,” an elated Dragic said when asked how he feels about his EuroBasket comeback. “I’m old, I’m 36. My legs are a little bit… they aren’t the same as five years ago… definitely, they’re not.”
Despite whatever Dragic may say or think about his age, he displayed plenty of flashes of his vintage brilliance against Lithuania and showed how crucial his presence is for Slovenia in the quest for the holy repeat.
It would mean a lot for Dragic to achieve this kind of success for a very special reason.
Back in 2017, Dragic had many great teammates to celebrate the gold with but he would love to also have a specific someone with him. His brother Zoran, a staple of the national team’s lineup, was out due to injury.
“In 2017 when we won the gold my brother was hurt and he couldn’t help us,” Dragic said. “This EuroBasket is one of the toughest but we come here with high expectations and I would love to win a medal with my brother definitely.”
His brother, Luka Doncic, Mike Tobey, Klemen Prepelic, and the rest of the Slovenian guys compile a band that Dragic considers really special and one of the reasons he’s savoring this new experience with his national team. “I’m enjoying playing for the national team, especially because of my teammates,” Dragic said. “It’s a really unique group and it’s fun. Really fun.”