From EuroLeague champion to Rising Stars Challenge MVP

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 16, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; World guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (8) reacts after being named MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge game against USA following the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bogdan Bogdanovic was a relative unknown when he finally made his NBA bow this season, three years after being drafted as the 27th pick by the Phoenix Suns. But now, the global audience recognise the young Serbian after his MVP showing in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge.

Bogdanovic made seven of his 13 three-point shots for 26 points as he led Team World to a comfortable 155-124 win over Team USA.

“I approach every single game the same way, try to compete, to be the best version of myself that day,” a smiling Bogdanovic said via CBS Sports. “It just happened tonight. I just kept shooting, and it felt good.”

Damn right it felt good. In a game where the focus was on Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, plus local favourites Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, it was Bogdanovic who made the most noise.

Since winning the EuroLeague title with Fenerbahce in 2017, Bogdanovic linked up with the Sacramento Kings with many sceptical over what kind of impact the Serb would have in the NBA and if he would be a fringe player, off the bench, eventually fading into the abyss.

But it has been nothing like that. Bogdanovic is averaging 11.5 points, 3.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from three-point land. He is an integral part of the young Kings rotation and is winning followers over with his no-nonsense approach to the game.

Oh, and he’s a Rising Star ChallengeĀ MVP.