Bosnia & Herzegovina’s national basketball team has not had a great week.
Saturday night saw team-mates Mirza Teletovic and Dzanan Musa square off in the nation’s loss to Russia in front of their home fans, which blew up in the Bosnian press the next day. The incident occurred when Russia’s Sergey Karasev drives to the hoops and looks to actually hit Musa with his elbow while going to the bucket, but despite the minimal contact, the Bosnian player flops and stays on the ground.
Musa, clearly angry heads away when Teletovic stops him and from there, they begin to exchange words.
It was a heated moment that Teletovic quickly apologised for, as he explained in the post-game press conference that he was merely attempting to calm down an already aggravated Musa but instead got insulted by the youngest player in the national team.
“Sometimes there are tensions like that in a team. I’ve spent my life representing the national team of Bosnia,” Teletovic said. “I have been playing for 13 years for the team. I never behaved like that or provoked someone. I have always represented Bosnia in the best light. I wouldn’t want to present a wrong picture of myself.
“I don’t want to say who is to blame or whether someone is guilty. We played our game for 38 minutes and then we lost. But at the end of the game we had an opportunity to get a result on seven or eight possessions. This is men’s basketball on a senior level. You have to try and calm your passions, you have to try to win.
“I said to Dzanan that everything is OK, urged him to calm down and told him that we’ve got some time to win the match. I am the captain of the national team and I’ve been here for 13 years. And he, the youngest player in the squad, begins cursing me and insulting me. It is simply impossible to continue after such an incident. But I am sorry I reacted the way I did. All I want to say is that such kind of things will never happen again, ever.”
Both players hooked up and publicly apologised together days later in their native Bosnian tongue.
But any chances of this incident going away are far from fading. Bosnia coach Damir Mulaomerovic has gone public by not including Teletovic in their trip to Sweden on Wednesday, stating that the Milwaukee Bucks actions were inexcusable.
“First thing’s first: The captain of a team doesn’t have a right to behave in the way Teletovic did in the game against Russia,” said Mulaomerovic to explain his decision. “There are no excuses for his [actions], the press conference and the whole incident with Musa. We have to take into account how we behave either when we win or when we lose.”
Mulaomerovic, clearly now getting things off his chest went on a full trade regarding Teletovic’s behaviour when he is with the national side.
“How can we keep ‘order and discipline’ when the captain is the first who doesn’t comply,” the Bosnian coach commented. “I don’t deny that he is one of our best players however Mirza is not travelling with us. He comes late for training, sometimes he doesn’t appear at all. He is late for lunch, in practices. How can we have discipline if he behaves like this? He also came to the camp overweight, something that you can easily notice.”
Now, along with Teletovic, it has surfaced that big man Jusuf Nurkic has not travelled to Sweden with the team as the player injured his leg in the loss to Russia on Saturday. But he took to Instagram to put a dagger in the hearts of Bosnian fans about his future participation with the national side.
Povredu imao, kažu, ne želi da igra, izmislio povredu, ne valja. Dodje da igra, ne valja. Daje sve od sebe, opet ne valja. Kako god okreneš, ne valja. Da li vam i zašto baš toliko smetam? Medjutim, uz ove momke sam do kraja, a nakon svega što ste mi priredili, o daljnjoj reprezentativnoj karijeri ću dobro razmisliti, lažovi i primitivci jedni! I još nešto, o tome kada i kako se putuje, ne odlučujem ja, nego savez i stručni štab. Da sam želio da se odvajam od ekipe, ne bih ni dolazio!
Translated, it reads:
He was injured“, they say, ‘he doesn’t want to play, he has bogus injury, he’s no good…’ I came to play and that wasn’t good. I gave my best and that wasn’t good. Whatever I do, it isn’t good. Do I annoy you this much, really? Anyway, I’m going to stay with these guys till the bitter end, but after all these things you did to me, next time I will think twice next time about playing for national team or not, you bunch of liars! And one more thing: How and when I travel with the national team is not my decision, but the decision of the Federation and the coaching staff. And one more thing: If I wanted to be separated from the team, I wouldn’t bother to come here anyway!
The current situation and disfunction is a long way from the Bosnian side that qualified for Eurobasket 2015 with relative ease, breezing past both Great Britain and Iceland and ending with a 4-0 record.
Now they face Sweden on Wednesday looking to qualify for next year’s competition and hope that their team hasn’t fallen apart in the build up.