Goran Dragic Given Award by the President

Guard Earns Slovenian Apple of Inspiration
Photo Courtesey of: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
by Greg Esposito
Suns.com Columnist and Radio Postgame Host

Last week a Dragon had an encounter with the leader of a country. It’s not the plot summary of the latest episode of Game of Thrones, it’s just the latest in Goran Dragić’s offseason itinerary.

Dragić met with Slovenian President Pahor last Thursday, along with students from the School of Economics of Ljubjana and the Primary School of Koseze. During the visit, the Suns’ guard was presented with the Apple of Inspiration award.

"Goran Dragič is an exceptional person, an idol of the young, who plays with his heart for his homeland," President Pahor told the crowd.

The honor was something Dragić took great pride in receiving and expressed how imperative it is for him to be a role model for the young people of his home country.

"I play basketball; basketball expresses my personality and I want to share this with the young,” the Suns star guard said. “In these difficult times I try to spread a positive mindset and together with other sportsmen help in the best way possible. I think that Slovenians have helped a lot and for that I thank them. I will try to be what I am, to be an inspiration to the young, on and off the court. I play for Slovenia to show the spirit of Slovenian people and share it with the whole world."

It’s not just his home country that has taken note of Dragić’s willingness and desire to help the communities around him. In Phoenix, he has partnered with City of Hope to provide help to those in need (including donating the 2015 KIA Sorento he was given for winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award to them). He also took time out to help build benches for schools in New Orleans during the NBA All-Star festivities, which was a skill he said he learned from his grandfather back in Slovenia.

It’s proof that you don’t need to be a mythical creature or have a hit TV show to gain global attention. Sometimes just being a good guy and doing what right can be just as good. Just ask Goran.

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