| The first Euroleague.net Fan Mail with the greatest coach in European basketball history, Zeljko Obradovic of Panathinaikos Athens, was a smashing success. More than 100 fans from around the world sent questions for Coach Obradovic, who last season became the first person to lift eight Euroleague trophies. Many of the questions came from other coaches looking for the secrets to his success. It was not possible for him to answer everyone, but a selection of the best questions allowed Coach Obradovic to address a variety of subjects, and to reveal such details as his typical weekly practice schedule and three primary characteristics of successful coaches. Always giving credit to his players and assistants, first and foremost, Coach Obradovic made it clear that no coach wins alone. "The crucial thing is the fact that we do function as a team," he said in one answer. "And that is the reason for all the results we have achieved."
Hello Mr. Obradovic. All these years as a crazy Euroleague fan, I had the opportunity to live through the success of Panathinaikos lifting trophies, from the first till last year's in Barcelona. Mr. Obradovic, after 20 years as a head coach and eight Euroleague trophies: are you still hungry to win even more of them, and are you willing to stay at Panathinaikos and fulfill your task to win more trophies than Real Madrid? Thank you for your time,
Sotiris - Athens, Greece
"Most importantly, I love the job that I'm doing and all the titles come as a product of hard work. Needless to say, it is that the players who are of greatest importance. As Panathinaikos today, we will try to win the titles, and as for the future, we will talk at the end of the season."
Dear Mr. Obradovic. As a basketball fan, player and coach, I am deeply inspired by your passion for the game and the way you get the absolute most out of your teams. Could you explain how you utilize all the basketball knowledge of team members like Dimitris Itoudis, Dimitris Diamantidis and Sarunas Jasikivicius? With best regards,
Ronald Derks - The Netherlands
"I am greatly satisfied that I am working with people like Itoudis, Diamantidis, Jasikevicius, but also with all the other members of the team. The crucial thing is the fact that we do function as a team, and that is the reason for all the results we have achieved."
Dear Coach Obradovic, congratulations on your head coaching career. You are one of the best coaches not only in Europe, but in the world. Can you suggest ways to become a good point guard like Diamantidis? Thank you!
Francesco Defila - Italy
"For this question, I would recommend asking Diamantidis himself. But I can say that all the great players whom I have worked with have devoted a large amount of time working individually, apart from their work with the team."
Coach Obradovic, in your opinion, which are the three main assets a top basketball coach must have to lead a team?
Arsen Bardis - Marseille, France
"First of all, knowledge is surely a very important asset. Secondly, trust of all the people that you work with. Third, passion and devotion."
Dear Mr. Obradovic, it's is a real pleasure to be able to write to one of Europe's best coaches ever. I've always been curious to know: what's the weekly schedule of your practices? What do you focus on different days of the week? Congratulations on your brilliant career and good luck in the future.
Ivan Bergamo - Milan, Italy
To make myself clear, I would like to give an example. Let us suppose that we have Greek League game on Sunday before the Euroleague game on Thursday. The schedule is as follows:
- Monday evening: team practice and video
- Tuesday morning: Individual practice and fitness
- Tuesday evening: team practice and game preparation
- Wednesday evening: team practice, but not high intensity
- Thursday morning: One-hour team practice, technical and tactical things before the game
- Thursday evening: Euroleague game
- Friday evening: team practice*
- Saturday evening: team practice*
*One of the above days includes video for the next game
- Sunday: Greek League game
After watching the documentary about Partizan's road to the Euroleague title in 1992, I was astounded by the level of support the team received while playing their home games in Fuenlabrada. Would you like to see Partizan play each season's opening game with Fuenlabrada, one year in Pionir Hall and the other in Spain, and a close partnership of exchanging players, knowledge and support between the two clubs? Their story is truly unique in the history of basketball.
Milos Milosavljevic, Belgrade
"I agree with all of the above that you have stated and support your ideas of what might happen. I truly wish it does."
Hi Coach. From all the years you've been coaching Panathinaikos, what is your favourite "play" and best "split-second" decision that changed a whole game?' Thanks a lot.
Pavlos Drimalas - Athens
"In all of these years in Panathinaikos, many decisions were very important, but one that I can recall right now was the final game in Berlin 2009, Panathinaikos vs. CSKA Moscow. The decision was to play defense and not to make foul on the last play."
Coach Obradovic, what are the best and worst moments of your Panathinaikos era? As far as the second is concerned, I can't remember any!
Dimitris Papadimitriou - Greece
"It is very hard to point out the best moments. In all of these 13 years, there were too many, they are so numerous."
Coach, two questions: What is the first thing you think each time you wake up the morning after a European title? Which European player reminds you of yourself as a player and future coach?
"The first thing I think is: 'Life is wonderful!' I am very lucky that many players I have coached became coaches, and the ones I am coaching now have a great potential to become coaches."
Mr Obradovic, in what special way do you prepare your team so as to keep it concentrated on THE plan when the opponent is 10 points ahead?
Stergios G. Kapraras , Veria - Greece
"It is very difficult to have concentration throughout the whole 40 minutes of the game, but that is truly a very necessary thing in order to play good and achieve victories."
Dear Mr. Obradovic. How can we make it possible for basketball's popularity to become bigger in Europe, not only in Greece, Spain and France? I wish you all the best for you and your team. With respect,
Nikos Polymerou- Greece
"I think that the Euroleague is on a good path to make the European basketball even more popular."
Dear Zeljko, What would be your dream team of five players you have coached? Best regards,
Alex - Nicosia, Cyprus
"There are many excellent players that I have coached, so it is very difficult to state a dream team of five players. I would like to thank all of the players for all that they have done for the teams they have played on."