Serbia So Real
Shit is deeper than we thought. Found this online, and regardless of whether it comes from a real source or not, it is simply too amazing not to post. And besides, it seems far too detailed for someone to waste their time making all this stuff up. In fact, the only people who I could imagine doing that are the Masters of the Klondike themselves.
Yugoslavia's (actually SCG, op.ed.) fall... - Sep. 22, 2005 - by Christos Foundos (Greek basketball journalist, the article actually quotes excerpts from a Serbian daily paper)
For every basketball fan in the world, Yugoslavia's loss to France and their elimination from quarterfinals (for the first time in the national team's history since 1967!!!) was the biggest surprise of the tournament so far. But not for the Serbian fans, they had seen all these coming... Late on Wednesday evening some friends were watching on video Zeljko Obradovic's press conference after the defeat from France (the "Catastrophe" as the nation's press called it). Listening to their beloved "Zots" raging against some of his players, they didn't stand up to cheer in favor of him, as most Serbian journalists did at the Belgrade Arena. They were sad and miserable and they knew this was the perfect epilogue for a story that started (not a few weeks ago but) years ago...At the 2001 European Basketball tournament in Turkey, was the last time that the Serbian players were playing as a team for their countrymen and came back with the gold medal. In Indianapolis at World Championship, the year after, they again won the gold medal but the shine of gold just covered up the dilapidation of this team.
Before coach Pesic decided to send Radmanovic to the jungle in the middle of the tournament (because he was always late and while Pesic was talking to the players, he was joking eating a banana), the team captain Vlade Divac had tried to make something clear to the young talented players of the team. "You all know who i am", he started his speech trying to unite the spirits of his young and newly rich teamates... "You all know how many years i have been playing basketball and of course you know that with the amount of money i have earned during my career i can buy and sell each and everyone of you in a single night... So, if at this moment i am here to represent my country and eat **** for it, then there is no way you won't do the same! Stand up "u picku materinu" (national curse, loosely translated could mean 'mofos') and play basketball for your country and not yourselves!!!" His words echoed from Indianapolis to Belgrade and Serbia won the gold medal, leaving the USA for the first time out of the finals.
But after that competition Divac retired and so did Georgevic and Danilovic. These three together along with another Serb legend, Zoran Savic were caught by the Serbian channel that covers the games, standing one next to the other during the last minutes of the game against France screaming like fanatics... At the same time that their countrymen were "writing history" leaving Yugoslavia out of the quarter-finals for the first time after 1967, and playing at home at that...
The string of accusations is unstoppable but it all comes to the newly wealthy, supertalented but immature stars of the team. Dejan, one of the journalists said:
"When Milicic was picked at No2 of the NBA draft, the first thing he did was buy Pistons jackets and give them to dancers in a strip club bragging that he was a Detroit Pistons' player. When Djordjevic and Danilovic were the 2 playmaking stars on this team, there was always the risk of fighting because half of Belgrade adored one and the other half the other, but they were mature and responsible in representing their country so they never had a fight. On the other hand Marko Jaric and Igor Rakocevic can't stand each other and they fought during practices all the time. We just don't have players/leaders anymore that realize that the national team is something bigger than anyone else. All our younger players only think about themselves, their publicity and how to make more money..."
In Belgrade and Podgorica people already knew... Lately, the people of Novi Sad also found out. After beeing yelled at by Zeljko Obradovic for hooting the team after the loss to Spain, some of the young stars of the team were seen celebrating, drinking and laughing at the bars of the city till wee hours in the morning like nothing had happened. Another example is Vladimir Radmanovic, the same player that Pesic threw out of the team during the Indianapolis World Championship and Serbia won the gold medal with only 11 players on the highest stand... Everyone in Yugoslavia knows that in Athens, during the Acropolis friendly tournament, he would go out to bars and "bouzouki" dance clubs every single night and come back to the hotel at 6 o'clock in the morning with at least one callgirl... He didn't even care to give up this entertainment of his in Novi Sad...
Instead of an epilogue, the article quotes Zarko Paspalj's words: "We reached rock bottom... The only way back up now is to start from scratch. This is a huge disgrace for all of us..." In the middle of all this one can wonder, where is Stojakovic? Most likely he feels he was right after all... He declined to join this team for the first time in his career because he just didn't believe in it. He had seen all this coming and didn't want to be a part of it...