Dubljevic calls it a day: ''Playing for my country has always been my greatest fulfillment''
PODGORICA (Montenegro) - Nobody has flown the basketball flag for Montenegro quite like Jelena Dubljevic and in an ideal world, the legendary forward would have retired after FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023.
This would have followed on nicely from her appearance back in April at EuroLeague Women Final Four. However, injury has torn up the script and caused her to hang up her basketball shoes with immediate effect.
In a heartfelt goodbye, Dubljevic reflects on her impressive career, in her own words.
It's been a long time since my first appearance in senior competition back in 1999 with my first club Roling from Niksic and all my appearances in the youth selections of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and Montenegro.
When I was only 15 years old, I was a part of a EuroLeague Women team, Buducnost from Montenegro. Ever since then, for 18 straight years, I've been lucky enough to play the game I love in some of the greatest basketball leagues in Spain, France, Czech Republic, Russia, China, United States, and lastly Turkey.
"PLAYING FOR MY COUNTRY HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY GREATEST FULFILLMENT."
A special part of my career, if not the most special, were the days spent in the red jersey. Playing for my country has always been my greatest fulfillment, and with no questions asked, I have always given it all for it. I played with a big desire and special energy to make our country proud, because that has been my biggest love of all.
I also had the honor and privilege winning the WNBA championship with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2016. Another dream came true. I have played through the sweat and hurt, I have given the game of basketball my all without never seeing the end of the tunnel. But the time has come and my body is telling me to let go and say goodbye.
This last 2022-23 season was filled with injuries that impacted my obsessive love for the game, which led to not being able to give my all like I normally do. Yet, regardless of all, I was lucky enough to play in the Euroleague Women Final Four, with one of the best teams in Turkey, CBK Mersin Yenisehir Bld.
My plan was to finish my basketball career by playing the FIBA Women's EuroBasket with my national team this summer. Unfortunately, it will not happen because of the medical issues mentioned above, and I'm very sad because of this.
"THE TIME HAS COME AND MY BODY IS TELLING ME TO LET GO AND SAY GOODBYE."
Lastly, a big thank you to all of YOU, my teammates, coaches, clubs, fans, and all the people who were a part of this great journey.
Most of all thank you to my family and friends, because without you, this would have been impossible to achieve. Jelena is out.
Jelena Dubljevic posted a stellar career spanning two decades. She played at four editions of the FIBA Women's EuroBasket with Montenegro, while at club level she has spent almost all of her time competing in EuroLeague and EuroCup Women, as well as being crowned a WNBA champion. A true warrior, her trademark was a fusion of fiery intensity, physicality and skill.