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Dušan Bulut's 3x3 Thrill
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My mama reads all my columns

NOVI SAD (Dusan Bulut's 3x3 Thrill) - It was the hottest day of November I can remember. I took part in a press conference in Doha, for the second FIBA 3x3 All Stars.

While wiping the sweat off my forehead, I saw that they were playing the film from last year's final. During these 150 seconds, I swallowed my spit on several occasions and swept nonexistent dust from the table where I sat. I had managed to reclaim the No.1 position more than 6 months ago and won the World Tour, but somehow it still hurt.

I rubbed my eyes and it all came back to me: the broken boards and hoops, misplaced shots, dusty courts, ill-paid jobs... training, training, training ... everything I went through and it still wasn’t enough ...

10k runs by the river then up the stairs to the Petrovaradin fortress while carrying the ball ... Who thinks that’s hard has never lost in the world’s final.

...It’s the All Stars final. What is going through the head of a man yelling at my face after a clean swish? Sometimes I think they just don’t get it. Does he really think that shouting would make any difference?

I've been in that position before and broke the heart of the last man who talked trash with me in front of the cameras back at Japan! But I had never truly broken ankles.

Against the best in the world, I did it twice!

I'm turning slowly, very slowly, the window is closed ... odd, I can still hear the man yelling at my face, but I cannot quite understand because of my deaf ear and the engine noise.

"Sorry?" I asked while slowly opening my eyes. 

"Could you please put the back of your seat to an upright position," the stewardess replied.

"Back?", I asked, confused.

"We'll be landing shortly, sir."

I’m waking up while tightly holding my drink. The engine noise suddenly got louder and then quiet again. Some kind of invisible force is pounding in my ears and squeezing through my head... Cabin pressure is dropping and the tension is rising. Obviously I’m not quite awake yet, for the moment I thought we were flying above the stars.

The temperature has dropped below zero degrees as I’m leaving the airport. I put up the hood of my Red Bull sweatshirt still the freezing wind blows and slaps my cheeks. I watch people with expressionless faces rushing to their loved ones while carrying gifts... I however am going to the bank because my bank account just keeps getting bigger.

PS: Some highlights from Doha...

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.

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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.