As the holidays roll around, one thing is on the mind of almost all Americans playing overseas. Visitors. I’m continually thankful each and every time friends and family make the effort to visit me around the world.
I had the opportunity already this season to host friends, my father, my in-laws, as well as my brother. Next to visit Belgrade will be my mom for Christmas. For some readers that don’t know, Serbia celebrates Christmas on January 7. It is never easy to be away from family and friends for special events and holidays, so it makes a big difference each time someone comes. My mom will be surprised a little as I have a game on Christmas Day, so we will have to change around some of the traditions. In my family, we all get together on FaceTime for hours and hours as we laugh and celebrate together. It is sometimes terrible to be the one in Europe as I wait all day for my family back home to wake up and celebrate with me.
One thing I look forward to showing all my guests is the passion and love fans have for basketball in Europe. Look no further than our home court for Red Star, Pionir. After a couple EuroLeague games in a different arena, we returned home to an amazing atmosphere in our home gym. As always, thanks to the fans for making EuroLeague games so fun to play in. We know you’re the reason we have this amazing job, so a big thanks from me to you.
Recently my wife made Thanksgiving special by making dinner for 18 people, although she prepared enough for 40. It was great to share this holiday with my teammates, some of whom had never experienced a Thanksgiving meal before. Side note: It’s not a good idea to tell your wife the day before cooking her first Thanksgiving dinner that we’re changing from 10 people to a possible 25 guests. But she handled it like a pro. I give all the respect in the world to the women that are living in different countries supporting their husbands and guys playing ball, creating a home away from home.
A big highlight for me this season was visiting Budapest. While the national teams had games, I had two days to see a new place I had never been. One of my favorite things about this time of year is seeing Christmas markets around the world. Budapest not only had an amazing Christmas market, but it is truly an amazing place to visit. I never take for granted how lucky I am to see the world. People are always asking me, what is my favorite country? City? It’s hard to say, as there is so much to offer in so many places around the world.
On the basketball side, our team has been playing well and coming together. With a new look and new players and coaches from last season, we are starting to come together and find our rhythm. The big win in Madrid and coming home for a win in front of an electric crowd show that. Our home games are something to look forward to and a truly special place to play a game. Anything is possible this year in the EuroLeague as each team is highly capable of winning an any night.
Well thanks for reading, I’m on the road now; we have a lot of away games in the month of December. Hotel rooms mixed with big weeks in fantasy football ahead. I want to end this be saying congratulations to the Red Star soccer team for advancing in European competition and I look forward to supporting them in the next round.
Till next time,