By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Eurobasket experience was a roller coaster ride for him that continued with his return to Slovenia, where he is hailed as a national hero.
As he explained: “It is true I have been barely able to stand on my feet for the last four days. I was physically tired, of course, but the mental, psychological tiredness was even worse. Tiredness from all those interviews and conversations with the media. I was constantly in front of the camera and in the middle of this vortex of emotions, fear and euphoria, which hit me.
I don’t even know how to describe this. You dream all your life of doing something, the pressure is building up on your shoulders through the years, and you look at Slovenia which is failing every time at the one but last step before the finish line …
And when you reach the goal, all the pressure of all those years suddenly disappears. You stop being yourself, you stop being that person, and you pull something out of yourself that you didn’t even know you had it in you …”.
Dragic had not only to fight on th court, but also the mentality of the Slovenians. As “Delo” describes: “At the crucial moment when the Serbian team took the lead, probably all the Slovenes in front of the TV sets and in the basketball arena shared the same thoughts: the history is about to repeat itself. As if we had this in our collective consciousness, in our DNA – we cannot possibly make it”.
But Dragic changed this: “I don’t know how it looked on television but I was in some kind of a trance at the time. We were leading by twelve points, the Serbs achieved a partial result 10:0, and suddenly we were leading only by two points. Igor called a timeout for Slovenia. All the players came to the bench and their first reaction was to bow their heads and stare at the floor. At that point I felt that this is the most difficult moment of the game, and I felt I had to change that mood somehow and to make them start thinking in a different way. I really got mad and I shouted: What is going on?! This is the final game! We’re playing in the finals of the European Championship and we are leading by two points! We are leading in the finals and we are the ones bowing our heads!? We are the ones who should be holding our heads up high! And at that point something happened as if we had all woken up and really started playing until the end of the game”.
This is just a small part of what Dragic had to say and you can enjoy the full interview by clicking here.
(Photo credit: FIBA)