Life on the road
NOVI SAD (Dusan Bulut's 3x3 Thrill) - Just a few days after winning the Hungarian B33 Decathlon Tour and securing seats in the waiting room at the World station in Prague (FIBA 3x3 World Tour Prague Masters), I was chatting with my fitness coach about our next challenge, the Quai 54 Streetball Tournament in Paris. Fedja talked about the French capital with respect and admiration.
During the trip, which was not well-planned, we killed time playing UNO (the card game) and the words of my mother constantly rang in my head. She said that of all the cities she saw, Rome was the most beautiful one she had ever seen. However, compared to the "eternal city", Paris was alive at every corner.
It may be that things have greatly changed since then, but the essence remained the same - the birth place of Dominique Wilkins remained magical, streets met squares where they fancied, buildings were bizarre and beautiful at the same time, Obelisk in the centre, the Louvre with the Tuileries on the right, Notre Dame in the back, the Eiffel Tower in the front and the river Seine, which looks at you as a mirror.
Speaking of mirror, I thought for a second everything looked very familiar in the "city of love". The venue of the Quai 54 right in the heart of Paris resembled those of the World Tour and even my man "Lipek" won the Dunk Contest. The only difference was new rules I am not used to (Quai 54 is 5on5 full court streetball), a handful of streetball enthusiasts whom we added to my usual team and probably the biggest block party I have experienced.
Even though we kicked out the favoured Americans in the first round, we lost the next game to a team that was not only better than us, but the best of all. Carried by euphoria and energy of more than 6,000 people who jumped, enthusiastically screamed and delightfully danced in the bleachers, we continued to fool around shamelessly in parks, squares and streets, taking advantage of another chance we got, when we met Mr Carmelo Anthony ($124 million over five years!), and politely apologised for the victory over his native New Yorkers and Bodiroga's infamous ankle-breaker.
Forget what others say, even your mother, because Paris remains the most beautiful city in the world. If you are a basketball player and you come here and they offer you only one choice - choose QUAI 54! This will not be a bad choice at all, because this block party is timeless.The following week, we found ourselves at a much more recognisable terrain and familiar environment. The old crew, well-coordinated and used to the already established rules of the game and a smaller ball, certainly reached the set goal. Even though we didn't have much time to see Saint Petersburg - we only passed through a part of Nevsky Prospekt and already accustomed to the Russian megalomaniac architecture and weather - we went home satisfied that we achieved our main goal: the new ranking points were won and the winning cheque of the Saint Petersburg Elite Challenger was in our pockets.
Again, during another badly-organised trip and one of the countless UNO card games at airport, I suddenly realised that I had taken another step further in an attempt to see how far I can go to be the best player in the world.
With no bad intentions, I complained that rather than the Neva, I wished this all took place on the banks of the Seine.
Dusan Domovic Bulut
FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.
FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.