Marina Maljkovic (FENER)
Women in Basketball
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''The future is ours'' - Maljkovic on the ever growing momentum of women's basketball

MIES (Switzerland) – Hugely successful Serbian play caller Marina Maljkovic believes the growth of women's basketball has gained significant momentum and the best is yet to come.

To celebrate the rise and rise of women's basketball globally and the huge importance of women in basketball being one of FIBA's strategic priorities, we have asked an array of elite female coaches to share their experiences and insights.

Head Coach of Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding, where she is currently trying to mastermind a first-ever EuroLeague Women title, as well as having famously made FIBA Women's EuroBasket and Olympic history as Serbia national team playcaller, the first in our series sees Marina Maljkovic tell us, in her own words, her thoughts. 

Marina Maljkovic: We should not forget that one of the top points of the United Nations 203O Agenda (the essential document on global economics and diplomacy) is equality not only between men and women but actually all of humanity.



Speaking of equality, I do not regard it as mathematics that makes us all equal. This is not the equality I advocate for. My fight is actually about equal opportunities. Equal rights, as I regard them, can not make men and women equal.

This world would be a strange place if men and women were one and the same. We are different, and this is the beauty of it. But we must have equal opportunities.

For instance, I never heard feminists advocate for equal salaries for male and female top models. If an all girls team can fill up a basketball arena of 2,000 fans, then I think these girls deserve the same salary as a men's team with 2,000 fans. That is all.

Authors like Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling wrote bestsellers and got more money than any man. This is what I want. No more. No less. Equal opportunities to enter the trade. And equal remuneration for the same result.

The 'Her World, Her Rules' initiative is a passion for Maljkovic, with many events held in Serbia

FIBA fully respects the highest standards of international law, as well as positive practices. Please note the great number of former players entering the coaching scene is also a high trend in women's basketball. The FIBA 'Her World, Her Rules' program is providing excellent results along with FIBA's program for women coaches, where I am one of the mentors. There I am the direct witness of excellent new coaches around Europe who are coming up very soon on the 'main stage'.

First and foremost, if someone wants me as a role model, please let it be, not because I am a woman, but because I am a good coach. Gender has nothing to do with role models. Sincerely, maybe most of my role models in life are men. Not only in regard to basketball.

Maljkovic has taken Serbia to the top of the FIBA Women's EuroBasket podium twice

As I stated earlier, I like this trend of young coaches emerging amongst former players. For instance, in the Serbian national team, we have our FIBA Women's EuroBasket gold medalists and Olympic bronze medalists Dajana Butulija and Danielle Page as our coaches.

There isn't one young national team where women are not having major roles, not because they are women, but because they deserve the spot.

I think that by setting such positive examples, we will for sure motivate more girls to start thinking of themselves as basketball coaches. This is my goal.

Also, by getting as many medals as possible, we will motivate them. Two FIBA Women's EuroBasket gold medals and a bronze, plus an Olympic bronze medal, surely helped me to get Serbian girls interested in basketball.

Maljkovic is currently trying to make more history  by delivering a first EuroLeague Women title for Fenerbahce

In order to conclude, let us remember that in 1891, when James Naismith invented the game of basketball, it was meant to be an all men's sport. Remember also that it was all about a bunch of guys playing rugby and American football that could not practice their game in the winter semester.

Professor Naismith had a genuine idea to put two baskets (actually 'peach baskets') on opposite sides of the gym so that players could perform a 'touchdown'. This is how it all started. During Naismith's lifetime, a game and its regulations evolved to such an extent that basketball came to be a fully recognized Olympic sport, and FIBA its representative in the International Olympic Committee.

This was almost a century ago. Times have changed. Humanity has evolved. Basketball is as much a woman's sport as it is men's. The future is ours. As the old song says, "the best is yet to come".

I am not a precursor to anything. I am simply a woman doing her job and doing it pretty fairly. Would you agree? All of my female colleagues are doing just the same – their job. If a woman can be Head of the European Commission, why can't a woman be a women's or men's head coach?

Next in our series we will hear from FIBA Hall of Famer Natalia Hejkova and Opals' Head Coach, Sandy Brondello.