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Dušan Bulut's 3x3 Thrill
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Honey, I spent all our money

NOVI SAD (Dusan Bulut's 3x3 Thrill) - It is cloudy in the centre of Prague, finals are underway. Passers-by stop and join the 3x3 basketball fans who have long packed the stands and around the court.

I am dribbling through my legs and with two extra steps I have conquered the space. I am finding my balance and with a crossover I switch the ball from one hand to the other. The last obstacle stands in front of me in the form of a two-metre tall Romanian player. His legs are confused by the change of direction, he loses balance and drops down to the floor.

The path to the hoop is clear and I easily lay the ball up into the hoop. From the corner of my eye I see my friends from Team Liman jumping up and down in the bleachers, the MC raises his voice and the crowds are brought to their feet. I run to defense not allowing myself even the slightest smile. Through my head run the memories of the Moscow Open Final when we lost $5,000 USD in a couple of seconds. 3x3 basketball is love but it is also work for most of us.

For the Lakota Warriors, life was a fascinating game. Despite suffering untold difficulties they would go through Montana mountains for the excitement of sneaking into the enemy’s camp and stealing their horses. Horses per se were not as important as the experience gained, the validation of the skills required for pulling off something difficult and almost unimaginable but also achieving a goal as a team.

Inspired by their story we found ourselves at the Riga European Championships Qualifiers. After the fifth game already we have reached our goal but because of the national pride which goes together with the jersey, we would play till the end. To be honest, all that meaningless running around really took its toll on me, especially when accompanied by a well-known pain in the knees. I close my eyes, clench my teeth and regardless of the doctor’s orders I imagine my heaven. How far could I go to be the best player in the world?

I say to myself: is this is the price I have to pay?

We finish at first place.

I'm sitting on the couch in my apartment which I hope I won’t be renting for too long and once again, just in case, check my bag with McDavid equipment, K1X and Nike sneakers. I look at my Tissot watch, which I won with the title of best defensive player at the Moscow Open.

Time is right - Let’s go again from the beginning.

I say goodbye to my girlfriend: "Jana, honey, I spent all our money, make sure the cat doesn’t starve."

… 35 seconds till the end in Prague, the score is tied ... After a flimsy pick-and-roll, the ball bounces off my hands and those of my opponent and falls into neutral territory. This is my chance, my livelihood. I extend my arm and manage to grab the ball before my Romanian rival, who is unable to stop and earns me a trip to the free throw line.

Three dribbles, ball spin - CLICK - BANG!

Three more dribbles, ball spin - CLICK - BANG!

The next 28 seconds feel like a hundred years. My team-mates are surrounding me and hugging me. Smile is finally on my face and the bank account is no longer a flat line.

CHING....... CHING ......

Dusan Domovic Bulut

Check out Bulut's ankle-breaking cross-over move at number one of the Prague Masters Top 5 Plays Video.

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Dušan Bulut

Dušan Bulut

Strong like a bull and fast as a bullet, Dusan Domovic Bulut was the best fit for the ‘3x3 Thrill’, the first-ever column about 3x3 basketball on FIBA.com. A FIBA 3x3 World Champ with Serbia in 2012, the man also known as ‘Bulut Proof’ continued to shine at the city-based FIBA 3x3 World Tour with Team Novi Sad in 2013, winning the Prague Masters and finishing second at the Istanbul Final. His heroics helped him become the #1 3x3 player in the world – according to the 3x3 Individual World Ranking – from October to December last year. ‘3x3 Thrill’ is a monthly installment but if Dusan types as quick as he crosses the ball over, you might be reading his columns on a daily basis.