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Bostjan Nachbar
Bostjan Nachbar
Position: -
Born: 07/03/80
Height: 6-9 / 2.06
Weight:221 lbs. / 100.3 kg.
Earnings: $11,614,320 ($15,327,117*)
Euroleague Players Association: ELPA, Euroleague Basketball and OARO join forces in NFT agreement! It marks the competition’s first joint commercial deal with the Euroleague Players’ Association, highlighting the importance of players as business partners. Boštjan Nachbar, Managing Director of ELPA: “We have been keeping an eye on this rapidly developing technological market and its impact on sports. EuroLeague players will now be able to directly impact the transition of their popularity into the growing digital environment.”
You actually left the NBA after your best two years, at least individually, with the Nets. Do you regret leaving the NBA at the peak of your career? Bostjan Nachbar: I get asked this question a lot. I cannot say that I regret it because it was a very interesting time. A lot of European players came back to Europe so it’s difficult to talk about regret because for me that was the best option at that moment. Sure, I wish I could have prolonged my career in the NBA but at the same time it’s not like I had equal choices that summer. Gordan Giricek returned home, Carlos Delfino went back to Europe, also Jorge Garbajosa and Josh Childress. A year later, Linas Kleiza went back… A lot of European teams were willing to offer solid contracts to Europeans or Americans who wanted to go. Unfortunately, the crisis of 2008 hit them a little bit after and that changed a lot of things in Europe. I wish I could have extended my career in the NBA, but it just wasn’t the case.
Everything has changed in the last month because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Euroleague officially canceled the season on May 25. How was the process of dealing with the league? Bostjan Nachbar: It was actually a very long process. We started with the players in Milano feeling very insecure about what’s going on, because that’s where the first outbreak was. So we started feeling a big need to suspend the season during the second week of March. There was a lot of talk with players, a lot of misinformation and a lot of unsureness on what to do, but we decided to notify early that the players were wishing to suspend the league because they didn’t feel safe anymore to travel and play. After the competition was suspended it started two months of long process communicating with the Euroleague and really making them aware of the players’ stance throughout this process. The first thing we wanted to secure were the minimum salaries that players must receive because there were no “force majeure” rules in players’ contracts. So we were able to achieve the minimum standard for players today which is 80 percent of their annual salary. Then the next step was talking with the players about whether they would like to continue or not, whether they felt safe enough to continue with the competition.
Storyline: Coronavirus
Bostjan Nachbar: The Euroleague has a proposition to finish the season with a tournament in July. But the issue started mounting because players had difficulty traveling back the players and getting back on the court. So the biggest fear from players, interestingly enough, was not as much the virus itself but the injuries. They felt that having two to three weeks of training camp and then jumping right into the most important part of the season of playing up to nine games in 22 days was simply too much risk involved from the injury standpoint. So our communication was daily with the Euroleague, leading up to a meeting with two players from each team and the management of Euroleague in which the players were very direct and very honest about how they felt. And two days later the season was canceled.
That’s a big difference between the Euroleague and NBA, because the NBA is willing to adjust its schedule to the new situation. Bostjan Nachbar: Yeah, this is the big thing. People sometimes forget that the NBA operates on their own schedule and on their own timeline. In Europe, you always have to adjust whether it’s to European competitions or to domestic competitions, depending on which side you’re looking from. So this is why it’s so difficult to be your own boss. You always have to look for permissions or look for adjustments and agreements. And that makes it much more complicated.
You’re an example of a player who went to the NBA and returned to Europe. And coincidentally you were a teammate of the current president of the NBPA, Chris Paul. Does it help the relationship between both organizations? Bostjan Nachbar: Honestly, I didn’t have any discussion with Chris on this topic. But I had a great experience playing with Chris. He was a rookie the year that I played with him and it would be great to see him again and catch up, especially in the roles we are now. But I have to say that Michele Roberts has been extremely supportive of what we do. And she is the one we keep in touch director to director, so to say. Same goes for Matteo Zuretti who is their international department director and he’s been amazing in this process.
Storyline: Coronavirus