BWB Europe, Day One Recap

Day 1 (Aug. 8, 2011) -- Basketball without Borders (BWB) Europe 2011 tipped off today in Ljubljana, Slovenia, bringing together NBA legends, coaches, and 50 of the top youth basketball players from more than 25 countries across Europe. This marks the first BWB camp to be held in one of the former Yugoslav republics and celebrates the program’s 10th anniversary. The 2001 inaugural camp, held in Treviso, Italy, featured 50 campers from former Yugoslav republics. The 2011 BWB Europe camp is reuniting many of the original NBA players who coached during the inaugural camp, including Vlade Divac (Serbia), Rasho Nesterovic (Slovenia), Dalibor Bagaric (Croatia), Bruno Sundov (Croatia), and Dragan Tarlac (Serbia).

The campers began their first morning with a Life Skills session at Tivoli Hall, where they received an overview of the camp and its goals. The campers then asked questions, ranging from what NBA players do in the offseason to how they can make it to the NBA. Former NBA Coach Jay Triano helped lead the discussion and advised the group that self-motivation is key and emphasized the importance of watching what you eat and taking care of your body.

After the press conference, the campers hit the court for the first time during the morning skills stations, allowing legends and coaches to begin their evaluations in preparation for that evening’s BWB Draft. A highlight of the afternoon was a basketball clinic for 75 Special Olympics athletes led by the legends and coaches - the first of three NBA Cares community outreach events. Bostjan “Boki” Nachbar, a passionate supporter of the organization, was especially vocal, providing encouragement and on-the-court tips while working with the group on basketball fundamentals. The day concluded with a second opportunity for the legends and coaches to evaluate the campers during a series of scrimmages.

A Historical Perspective:

“The Canadians invented it, the Yugoslavians perfected it”

The 10th anniversary BWB marks the first camp held in one of the former Yugoslav republics, from which the 50 inaugural BWB campers hailed.

The region has long been a hotbed for basketball, with the Yugoslav national team of the late 1980s and early 1990s featuring what was perhaps the greatest generation in the history of Yugoslav basketball.

A common quip about basketball in the former Yugoslav republics is, "The Canadians invented it, the Yugoslavs perfected it." The early NBA pioneers – including the late Dražen Petrović, Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoč, Dino Rađa, Predrag Danilović and Žarko Paspalj – paved the way for the ever- increasing number of international players in our game today.

“You may have the moon, but we have the World”

A key turning point came in 1970, when the then Yugoslavia claimed its first World Championship gold medal. For added significance, this years’ BWB Europe camp is taking place in Tivoli Hall, the very arena where the Yugoslavian National team claimed gold. After defeating the USA in a pivotal game just one year after the moon landing, a banner hung in the stadium read, “You may have the moon, but we have the World.” Such was the significance of the victory, which set the tone for Yugoslav dominance in international basketball for many years to come.

  • 50
    ...of the best players in Europe in attendance
  • 25
    ...countries represented
  • 11
    ...NBA Legends coaching the four teams
  • Dalibor Bagaric
    Selected 24th overall in the 2000 Draft after a stellar run in Croatia, the 7-foot-1 Bagaric played for the Bulls until 2003, when he returned to Europe.
  • Zarko Carbarkapa
    Drafted 17th overall by Phoenix in 2003, Carbarkapa also spent time with the Warriors during his three-year NBA career. Before coming to the NBA, he won a 2002 World Championship title with the former Yugoslavia.
  • Vlade Divac
    Part of the first wave of Europeans to flood into the NBA, the Serbian-born Divac became one of only six players in NBA history to record 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocked shots.
  • Predrag 'Peja' Drobnjak
    The two-time World Champion and European gold medalist with the former Yugoslavian team played four years in the NBA, after going in the second round to the Wizards in the 1997 Draft.
  • Bostjan 'Boki' Nachbar
    The swingman played six years in the NBA after being selected 15th overall by the Rockets in 2002. Currently in Turkey, he won the Italian Championship in 2002.
  • Radoslav 'Rasho' Nesterovic
    The Slovenian-born 7-footer came to the NBA in 1999, when he went 17th overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He won an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005, and returned to Europe for the 2010-11 season following a stint with the Raptors.
  • Zarko Paspalj
    Although his NBA career was short, the World Champ and three-time European gold-medalist became one of the first Europeans to ever play in The Association when he joined the Spurs in 1989.
  • Dino Radja
    Radja won back-to-back European titles with his club team in 1989 and 1990, two European gold medals with former Yugoslavia and played his way onto the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1993.
  • Bruno Sundov
    Born in Croatia, Sundov played for five teams during his NBA career, in addition to nine more European teams after finishing his NBA tenure with the New York Knicks in 2005.
  • Dragan Tarlac
    Selected in the 1995 Draft by the Chicago Bulls, the one-time Euroleague champion and FIBA gold-medalist played a year in the NBA after a brilliant career with Olympiacos in Greece.
  • Milos Vujanic
    Drafted by the Knicks in the 2002 NBA Draft, the sharp-shooting Vujanic led the Euroleague in scoring in 2003 and took home a gold medal for former Yugoslavia in the 2002 World Championships.
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