Where to begin? Arrived in Belgrade for the preseason after a huge summer. During July and August, within a three-week period, I got married, my brother got married, and my cousin, who is a brother to me, got married as well. #3brothers3brides. It was truly an incredible experience, with so many families creating a unique time to share important moments in our lives.
Many years ago, I signed a contract to play with the Montenegro national team. I knew that this was going to be fun but very difficult as it would keep me in Europe for almost all 12 months for many years. I remember joking with myself and friends that I had better just settle down out here and find a wife and a place to live. Well six years after meeting my "soon-to-be" wife, we got married in her hometown of Le Mans, France.
I always tell young players that you have to put yourselves out there and get to know the cities you play in. Get to know the people and open your mind to new cultures and new experiences. Well, I'd say I'm pretty involved now. I never thought I'd get married in a French cathedral dating back to the sixth century. It was a truly incredible experience.
Now, I'm proud to have a large American/ French family.
It was a summer of weddings, and even Brad Oleson, a big-time EuroLeague player over the years, got married in my hometown and we got to hang in Santa Barbara. That's one of the best things about my job; the basketball world is very small and the relationships that you build overseas, and back in the States, are unique and special, as you meet in wild circumstances.
For our honeymoon, my wife and I went to Ireland. (For the record, if you're gonna surprise your wife at the airport with where you're going for the honeymoon, make sure it's someplace warm or pack her some warm clothes.) While it doesn't sound like the typical Santorini-beach-and-pool-type getaway, Ireland might be the most beautiful country I have seen, and we absolutely loved the experience. For an athlete, it's easy to spend lots of time in airports and planes, hotels and buses, binge-watching movies and TV shows. In Ireland, I found out that the show Vikings was shot there and I had to make my way over to see Kattegat, the birthplace of Ragnar.
After eight years playing in Europe, I am truly blessed and fortunate to be able to see so many places and experience so many things like this.
Now, the summer is over, and I'm back to being lost in translation. A new country, a new language. I couldn't be more happy to be in Belgrade, Serbia, with one of the best clubs in Europe. Belgrade is filled with great people and amazing food.
I just read on the EuroLeague website that Belgrade was chosen by the team captains as the best place for an opposing team to visit. One of my main reasons to come play for this team – not that I needed many – was to experience this incredible crowd and atmosphere, and be on the home team this time! For years I have been playing and watching EuroLeague games and it's fun to see so many gyms and the crowds around the world. I believe that Red Star has the best atmosphere of any place I have been or seen. I look forward to having friends and family come to visit and get to know Serbia and see these fans in action.
So, as I get going in my ninth season in Europe, I look forward to the exciting times ahead and the new experiences to come. A big thanks to all the EuroLeague fans who put so much passion into these games and bring the excitement each night.
Last thing, I must say that the new rap video that EuroLeague did with some of the players is classic. My Serbian teammates have been singing it in the locker room, and there is nothing more classic than a Serbian accent to this rap song. Well done. See you guys on the court!