Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Where does it all go wrong?

One of the most famous anecdotes about George Best goes like this: towards the twighlight of his career he was in a hotel room with one of his girls(believe me, he always got the best ones) and the room service guy brings him the chapagne he ordered and gets a fat tip from George. As he is about to leave he takes a look at Best, the beautiful lady with him and the money lying around and asks:"Tell me Mr. Best, where did it all go wrong?"

This summer Serbia is witnessing their mens youth basketball teams win European Championship first and then World Championship in their respective categories. And one can add to that that the U19 women's team are European champions and that the U21 are runners-up. We have an abundance of talent and good coaches. However...

Lately the men's senior team has been woefull. Since winning the World championship in 2002 in Indianapolis, we couldn't finish above 6th place and last two big competitions, the Eurobasket 2005 and the World championship in 2006 were downright disasters. OK, others have moved forward, the absolute dominance outside the NBA domain that we had in the 1990-ties and a bit beyond would be a thing of the past in any case, but come on...Defeats to superpowers such as China and New Zealand????

Why is it that everything falls apart once our talented youngsters pass on to the final level? Going to the NBA(which isn't what it used to be, BTW) too early? Weak domestic league? Lack of patriotism?

We'd better find an answer to this question soon or we will become the basketball-nation equivalent of George Best: unseen potential squandered due to carelessness and complacency.

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