Zeljko Obradovic interview

Zeljko ObradovicZeljko Obradovic talked about everything to the Sunday edition of Greek newspaper "Kathimerini". Here is the full interview translated.

What is your greatest reward for all your accomplishments with Panathinaikos given that you are also working in a foreign country?

– I want to see the arena full and fans should leave happy with what they see on the floor. It is difficult to fill the OAKA, but every sold-out is like a title for us. The greatest benefit is for the fans to understand the team and basketball, really helping us and not setting obstacles on our way. Before the 4th final I said to the players: " Guys we worked really hard to have 20.000 people on our side"

Do you learn something everyday?

– That's life, not only basketball. Like the ancient Greeks said, we are ageing constantly learning something. I learn from my partners and my players. Truth is you make decisions and the players, who are smart, understand the seriousness of the matter. In the last play of the Euroleague Final I talked with Dimitris (Itoudis) and said to the players: "Let's play defense". I didn't explain anything further. And they agreed.

Does Dusan Ivkovic remain your second father?

– He is a great man and was… cool enough to hang out with me, even though I am younger we hang out and I learn lots from him off court.

What is your method of bringing the best out of players or having players adapt to the team, like Jasikevicius who was free to do whatever he wanted in his previous teams?

– Jasikevicius came to a team that had achieved a Triple Crown it was not easy at all for him, having that character, to adjust to the teams immediately. I remember last year, everytime that Panathinaikos didn't play well, there was talk of Jasikevivius. I was the first to try to protect him. I am the coach and I have the biggest responsibility. It is easy to find a player and say "He didn't play well, let's blame him, and all will be fine". Sarunas was very different this year, he took the team on his shoulders many times and played very well.

Do you ask for something more, besides being healthy, after all you have accomplished in basketball?

– I believe life is simple. There is people you like and love and we all should be talking about health. I like life and I am happy every morning I wake up. I try to enjoy life. Some of the things I like are those that we're talking about. Life, basketball, making the people I love and the team I love happy. You asked me before the interview if I am tired. I'm telling you I am not. I talk about the things I love. It is something that makes me happy. I try every morning to enjoy life because afterall life is short. It is not possible to be happy everyday or to be successfull everytime .

Is your happiness based on the so many titles you have won in such a short period of time?

– Titles are a short pleasure. You try everyday hard in order to win a title in another day, but you can not celebrate it more than 2-3 days. You have a drink, you listen to the props and the wishes and then you start thinking of the next chapter of your life. To me everyday happiness is being with my friends talking about all matters, not only basketball, having them beside me, and them having me besides them. It is very important to me for friends to come over from Serbia, Italy, Greece and hang out. They are simple friends that I appreciate and respect a lot. Likewise it is great to have around your family. I told my daughter I would support anything she wants to and I will say the same to my son.

What value do you give money?

– Without money you can not do many nice things. I have people I help, cbeause I gain a lot more back from them, but I don't work in order to earn as much as possible. I want to spend in order to have a nice time without exaggerating.

We've seen you turning red while coaching. How do you beat stress and pressure?

– I do not turn red, i turn blue (laughs). It is a normal reaction to me. It's my style. I don't yell at a player to force me over him, instead I give him arguments on how he didn't do what we had disscussed, correctly. When I talk to the players on the bench, I am preparing them so when they get on court they will do correctly what their teammates are not. I am not stressed. I feel I have tension, but I do not act under pressure. I try to find solutions throughout the game, because I don't have much time to think. That's why I have told Dimitris (Itoudis) to talk to me constantly and to tell me everything he thinks. I make the decisions, but it is important to have beside me someone that I trust not 100%, but 1000%