Serbia was proud of Vasilije Micić, and you can imagine how his family felt. The moment when the Efes player raised the EuroLeague trophy, and then the recognition that the Final Four MVP received, is forever burnt in the memory of, among others, his father Dragan and his sister Nina.
On the morning after the night to remember, we were in conversation with Dragan Micić, and we asked him how he felt on the day after the EuroLeague final.
"Yeah, I'm good. Very good, actually," Dragan said at the start of his interview with Kurir, smiling.
To wake up as a parent of Europe's best basketball player is quite a big deal.
"All the waiting and serious work have paid off. There've been lots of awards in all sports – basketball, skiing, snowboarding – but this is the crowning achievement. It crowns what began a long time ago, when he was four and started to do sports. He went into basketball in the sixth grade."
Even those of us watching from the sidelines and rooting feel involved. Imagine what it must be like being a parent and watching junior's match.
"I watch a bit, then pace around, have a couple brandies, as you do, and so I manage to follow the match."
So, long live the rerun!
"We celebrated this success with friends and family, and I saw the match again afterwards, late at night. My, it's much easier to watch a rerun – it's more casual, calm, and relaxed [laughs]."
Let's back up a little. Over two decades ago, a winter sport appeared to be on the cards …
"Skiing just seemed like a natural choice, because we were on Mount Kopaonik. But, all Vasa wanted was basketball. We worked with him intensively from a young age. Not just in sports but outside the sports field too. English, math, Serbian, education… It's not just about sports, it's also important to get a well-rounded person outside the sports field."
We then said, he chose basketball, thankfully, to which his dad responded:
"To this day, I think that he is a better skier than basketball player."
That wasn't the end. What followed was a face-off between football and basketball.
"He started school at the Jovan Cvijić Elementary here in Karaburma. I was training him to become a footballer – Belgrade JFC pitches were located across the Danube, which was yet another problem during the crisis. Belgrade JBC was also nearby, the school court, so when he took a basketball in his hands, that was it as far as other sports were concerned," recounted Micić senior.
Dragan on the phenomenon of top athletes from Mount Kopaonik: the Đoković family, the Micić family, and skiing – the secret lies in this!
The Đoković family's love for skiing is well-known, as is the fact that they went to Mount Kopaonik for years, which is where Novak Đoković took his first steps in sport. Almost the same is true for the Micić family, except that they can also say with pride that they have an amazing snowboarder among them. Nina Micić is the most successful Serbian woman in this sport.
What's the secret of their success and what role does Kopaonik play there?
"It's not limited to sports. We have many children from Kopaonik who have gone abroad and become renowned university professors and scientists. The school that we have is small but… The children who grew up there were privileged. Living in a natural environment, without a care, a completely free life in nature. That's quite rare," Dragan said.
Unfortunately, it's all becoming a thing of the past.
"Sadly, sports are now completely neglected there. It seems to me that all that matters is the infrastructure, the construction work, and such. Still, I hope that this phenomenon will persist, and that we will have educated and successful athletes hailing from Kopaonik."
'Playing for Serbia is emotional'
Vasa has shown before what the Serbian national team jersey means to him, both on the court and in his actions elsewhere. In the days when he suffered a family tragedy (the passing away of his mother), he stayed at the World Cup, wearing the Serbian national team jersey.
"Playing for Serbia is emotional. Just look at the songs that people sung and listened to after the EuroLeague final, that says it all."
Kurir sport / Miloš Bjelinić