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...


At 9/22/2005 4:25 PM, Blogger Ken said...

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...

There is a strip club in Detroit called Bouzouki, it's in the Greektown neighboorhood. I always wondered why it had such an odd name. Now I know it is a Greek word, can't believe I didn't realize this earlier. Thank you for connecting the dots Free Darko.

At 9/22/2005 4:27 PM, Anonymous Brickowski said...

THC, I tip my hat to you if you wrote this. It seems too good to be true, but too detailed and concerned to be satire. And all the ellipsis...?

I’m going to treat this as if it’s true.

"When Milicic was picked at No. 2 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.”

The legend has grown to almost unimaginable heights at this point.

And yet, Radmonovic, that special blend of white man braids, Mickey Mouse and call girls, almost manages to trump him.

Who knew Eurobasket could be this fascinating?

side note: I got Zarko Paspalj’s autograph in 1990 during his one year stint in the NBA. Too absurd to be stored with other autographs accrued during childhood, and too precious to lose, it sits alone on top of my dresser with some loose change.

At 9/22/2005 5:06 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

great autograph story, brick.

how long until the "WHO WANTS TO SEX DARKO?" stories start coming out?

At 9/22/2005 5:07 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i take back everything i said about euros. actually, i don't, since this is what happens when that american spirit creeps into the mind of the most proud basketball nation yet produced.

i don't know why we didn't pick up on this sooner: radmanovic, blackest of all the eastern euros.

At 9/22/2005 5:10 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

ehhh.....i'm more than a little uneasy with the idea that staying out late drinking and fucking hookers makes you black. i mean, i get that he wore his hair in braids, but he actually seems like the most eastern european of the eastern europeans.

At 9/22/2005 5:13 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that's not really what i meant. . . more that of all the euros, radmanovic is the one who most has the "i'm the shit and dress well" mentality of american players. jaric is solidly in the "rock star of european extraction" category

At 9/22/2005 5:17 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i don't know, jaric seems pretty "i'm the shit, and i dress well," too. the thing that bothers me about this new brand of euro is that they seem to have absorbed all of the ego and materialism of american players, but without a real understanding of style or community. i'm not seeing the depth or the heart in these cats that i see in KG or AI.

At 9/22/2005 5:18 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

what i mean is that radmanovic can put hair in cornrows and bump young jeezy in his tricked out escalade, but he's still got no soul.

At 9/22/2005 5:42 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

1. jaric is a pimp, not a player. he's "the shit" because he wants to be, not because he has to

(i have no idea what that means)

(player being inherently more melancholy. it's like being on top of the struggle, and with style, to boot)

(that either)

2. name me one euro with more american-style soul than radmanovic.

At 9/22/2005 7:34 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

vlade has more soul than radmanovic. he doesn't front like he's something he's not, he's just a chill dude. chris webber loves him.

i guess ginobili doesn't count?

At 9/22/2005 7:45 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the really stupid thing about this blog is that i occasionally log in to find myself in an argument that i probably shouldn't have started in the first place.

fine, i just root for radmanovic because he kind of looks like me, though not as much as pavlovic, who i fucking hate

At 9/23/2005 11:20 AM, Blogger emynd said...

fine, i just root for radmanovic because he kind of looks like me

I'm the same way with Jim Jones.

But damn this article is fascinating. For some reason, it reminded me of this this book that I highly recommend: How Soccer Explains the World.

If Basketball is "a game of style," Soccer is "a game of nationalistic passion" and it seems that what happened with this team is that "nationalistc pride and passion" came face-to-face with "American individuality and style." And it surely wasn't pretty... nor effective, apparently.


At 9/23/2005 11:47 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

there's also the theory i heard during the world cup a few years ago, possible by the guy who wrote that book, about why americans hate soccer: goals, i.e. success, is too incidental. goals emerge almost randomly out of the flow of a game, much the way that, in the non-american, less-materialistic, often down and out world, pay-off or big events usually come as a surprise, and it's the rhythm, tension and detail of daily life that gives people their joy and meaning.

basketball, by contrast, is non-stop pay-off.

football is weird, because scoring is infrequent but still always assumed and clearly aspired toward. it is upward mobility made flesh.

At 9/23/2005 12:49 PM, Blogger emynd said...


I don't know if I buy that. I don't know if there's anything intrinsic about the game of soccer itself that doesn't align with American sensibilites. Dude in that book makes the argument that Americans don't like soccer because it's this suburban, bougie thing--which I kind of buy. After all, in America, soccer isn't linked to either style or nationalism. It's linked to soccer moms, orange slices at half-time, and Mia Hamm. Contrast that with Brazilians who live by the freedarko aesthetic and feel that soccer should be beautiful, graceful, and super-human--i.e. to them soccer is "a game of style"-- and with the Italians who approach soccer much differently (defense first, and then counter-- i.e. "no style") and you see that the game itself doesn't determine how the players play it or what the fans expect it to be. But, the ardent nationalism is a recurring undercurrent in Soccer. Even if soccer is "a game of style" to the Brazilians, they take nationalistic pride in their stylistic abilities and are only satisfied when they win, and win beautifully and gracefully. I'm getting long-winded now, but I think what keeps folks from really liking soccer in America is a clear socioeconomic social construct. Which is to say that, soccer is primarily a suburban game, while basically everywhere else in the world, you go to the metropolises and the urban youth are playing soccer like our urban youth play basketball (i.e. it's a lower and middle class sport).

After all, if you listen to sports radio, it's not rare to hear dudes talking about how much they hate soccer. It's weird, too. It's not just a casual "Oh, soccer isn't relevant," it's usually a full-on hatred of the sport. So, obviously there's something socialized about soccer that these Americans don't like, and nothing particularly intrinsic.

I think there's a good book topic: the history of the American suburban growth and how it destroyed American interest in soccer.

By the way, can't you make the "incidental goals" argument for hockey? Or even baseball--supposedly "America's past-time" (though it's pretty clear football has replaced it)?


At 9/23/2005 12:57 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

americans only like hockey because of the fights. give them fleeting, european style hockey and they'd lost interest.

about baseball, it's like football. all of the game is the desperate pursuit of the run; soccer it's only on a breakaway that there's that kind of fevered immediacy. what's more american than the home run?

At 9/23/2005 1:00 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

and the style element is part of that flow of soccer that i'm talking about. i'm not saying that they don't want to win, but there is an appreciation for the less "excting" parts of the game as just as important as the waning seconds, penalty kick, whaetver else fits the american model of non-stop sports drama

At 9/29/2005 4:41 PM, Anonymous popeye said...

One interesting thing, there's also alot of comments about Radmanovic 'blackness' on Serbian sites too. I quote one guy on b92.net (loose translation):

'Radmanovic gave this theam absolutely nothing but negative energy. He must be really thinking his black, taking over their manners and pretending to be a star. Players like that are the reason why we and americans can't win anymore.'

At 10/27/2005 7:39 PM, Blogger Jonathon Combs said...

Hey, Great Stuff. I'll be back to read often.


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