Kalinic reveals Obradovic's sacrifices, proposes measures to maintain respect in ABA derbies

2023-11-20 15:13

Nikola Kalinic suggested radical measures to maintain respect in ABA League derbies between Partizan and Crvena Zvezda, proposing players leave the court immediately if any object hits the floor.

Credit: ABA League j.t.d./Dragana Stjepanovic, Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit ABA League j.t.d./Dragana Stjepanovic, Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Basketball saturates every aspect of legendary coach Zeljko Obradovic's life, a sentiment echoed by his former player, Nikola Kalinic, in a recent interview with Vuk-Milos Petrovic of Basketball Sphere.

Kalinic reveals that Obradovic's dedication is tireless, emphasizing that Zeljko strives to absorb new basketball knowledge daily. In his pursuit, Obradovic often sacrifices sleep, staying up-to-date on global basketball trends to integrate them into his coaching system.

"He lives basketball. He spends 24 hours in it. He used to come to practice in the morning and ask if you watched an NBA game. I said, 'I'm not, Zeljko, I was sleeping,' so he would tell me, 'There was a situation when this one did this, that one did that,' then you realize that the man follows basketball on all fronts and really loves it," Kalinic shared.

Nikola Kalinic

Nikola  Kalinic
Team: FC Barcelona
Position: SF
Age: 32
Height: 202 cm
Weight: 101 kg
Birth place: Subotica, Serbia

Obradovic's passion is displayed in unexpected ways. Kalinic describes instances where the coach personally engages with young players, correcting their shots after practices -- an uncommon involvement for a specialist of his stature.

"Or when he comes and passes the ball to the kids after practices and corrects their shots," the FC Barcelona forward added. "A coach at that level rarely does that. The 'fire' still burns in him and that is why he is the best. After all the successes, he manages to maintain his motivation to still be so 'on fire.' That's what sets him apart."

Shifting focus to Kalinic's experience in the intense derbies during his latest tenure with Crvena Zvezda in 2021-22, he expresses concern about the vivid contrast between EuroLeague and ABA League games. While EuroLeague matches are limited to verbal exchanges, ABA League encounters often devolve into chaos.

Kalinic voices disappointment in the regional league's inability to enforce rules and penalties effectively, calling for a collective effort to restrain misconduct. He advocates for a strict approach, suggesting that if any disruptive elements enter the playing court, both teams should immediately leave until order is restored.

"I'm just sorry that there is a big difference between those games in the EuroLeague and the ABA League," Kalinic said. "In the EuroLeague, it can all be sports, cheering, not throwing anything in, because they know they will be punished. It all looks as it should. There are insults, but everything ends in verbal matters.

"Then the ABA League comes, and fans start throwing firecrackers, coins, bottles, chairs… And it all breaks down. Obviously, all this can be organized properly. I don't know why the ABA League cannot stick to the rules and penalties. It's all the player's fault as well," he stressed.

"If I ever return to the ABA League, I will try to change all that somehow. When the referee is hit, they leave the floor. They don't want to participate in it. If the referee is insulted, the spectator is kicked out immediately, while we players try to be tough guys, and when we are targeted, we want to play even harder. Well, no, that's exactly the mistake. Coaches and players need to agree on both sides: whatever enters the floor, both teams leave it, and it does not continue until it is cleared. Some will say that the players are spoiled. If referees can respect these rules, why are we worse than them?"



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