Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic has confirmed he is retiring from the Slovenia team that won the European basketball championship. Dragic says on Tuesday, “I achieved what I wanted, the gold medal, and this is the right time to bid farewell.”
You have been part of the NBA for 17 years, you are the first European coach to achieve many milestones in your career in the States. However, this tournament with Slovenia can be called your biggest success? Igor Kokoskov: “I think so because it’s different when you are part of a team, part of the stuff and it’s different when you are coaching your own team. And that was one of the reasons that I took the job to coach in FIBA basketball. To have the opportunity to coach my own team, to make my own mistakes and to grow as a coach. In 2007 I got an invitation from Georgian basketball federation and they offered me a job. I wasn’t sure that it was a good idea, I didn’t know if I should do that or wait. I was also working as an assistant coach in the Serbian national team and Joe Dumars, the Pistons coach at the time, told me that if you want to grow as a coach, if you want to get better, you have to coach your own team. At that time I was also single, I didn’t have a family and using the summers to work was an available choice and a wise decision for me.
After this Eurobasket success, do you think that you will be the first European head coach in the NBA? Igor Kokoskov: “It’s hard to tell, it’s hard to predict. That’s something that you don’t control. You control your progression, you control your life. A lot of things have an impact on that decision. It’s the trust that the owner has to have in you in order to be a head coach. It’s really complicated and I think that there are many good international coaches who have the knowledge and the experience to work in the NBA. However, it’s a different market. I don’t think that an NBA owner will have the courage to hire someone that he doesn’t know. One that does not have an experience in that market. That’s the other reason why I keep myself close to the European market, in order to get more experience, but I also stay in the NBA and I wish, even if it’s something that I don’t control.
For the Miami Heat guard, this is truly the biggest achievement in his career so far. “Definitely it is,” Goran Dragic said to Greek National Television. “I’m still waiting for that NBA ring but this (EuroBasket gold) is something else. This is for my country. My country gave me everything. I was born and raised there. I’m glad I can give something back to the Slovenian people. You see how the gym was full of them. I want to thank them from my heart.”