Follow FIBA on Facebook
Where it all began
NOVI SAD (Dusan Bulut's 3x3 Thrill) - About a hundred and fifty years ago, when Paris was the centre of the art world, a group of painters gathered every evening in Café Guerbois. One of the leaders of this group was Edouard Manet as well as his friend Edgar Degas.
In his early thirties, Manet , one of the elder in the group, charmed everyone else with his energy and humour. This group along with Claude Monet and a few more created the Impressionist movement. They painted each other, painted together, helped each other financially and emotionally. Today, their paintings star in the most famous museums in the world but in 1860, they were starving, struggling and poor.
We, the basketball renegades, are sitting on the wooden bar stools in dark corners of Café The Pub, located on the corner of Brace Ribnikara and Bulevar Oslobodjenja. We meet almost every day and while we eat and drink, we talk about basketball, our and other people’s careers, politics, chicks, rich and poor, good and bad people.
None of us required higher education but the one that I needed, I gained at 3x3 tournaments. They are crawling with competition. Bad people are nowhere to be found. The ones who perform badly are left out and the ones who are good win prizes, money, prestige, followers and professional success.
That day at the pub we were not discussing La Nouvelle Peinture like in Café Guerbois, we were still obsessed with the win we pulled out at the most prestigious tournament in Svilajnac. Best in freaking Serbia! And now we had to find a fourth guy for the international challenger in Bucharest.
"Just back from Toma’s and he… is not playing.", I told the rest of the team. I was disappointed.
"So who will it be then? What do you think?", said Savke.
"What is there to think? Someone with a car, money for the gas, at least 2 metres tall… Right we have no one", Marko joked.
After calling every number on our phonebook with zero success, we eventually noticed a guy in our bar, his forehead covered with sweat on a hot summer day.
"Wanna come with us?", I asked.
"Why me?", he objected.
"You're interested or not?"
"But where to?"
"What should I bring?", Bole said, like his answer depended on that.
"Your game, and drinks for the trip. It’s going to be a long one."
We took the road shortly after with empty pockets but hearts filled with hope. Just the four of us.
I thought we are all chasing a dream and mine was at the end of this 14-hour ride through Bulgaria and Romania. We got lost and lost Bole’s drinks too, boiling with the heat.
"Either we are going to die or this is going to be the start of something great", someone said at the back.
Something great like representing my county and becoming the first-ever FIBA 3x3 World Champions or becoming the number one 3x3 player in the world? How could I know by then?
"At least it’s going to be a good story", Bole said.
When the sun came up, I was still alive and since that day I have thought I should write a story about the beginning of everything.
Two years later I finally do.
Dusan Domovic Bulut
FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.
FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.