This week Sasha Vujacic is the protagonist of the exclusive Basketinside interview. Born in Maribor in 1984, Vujacic started his career in Italy: he played with Udine from 2001 to 2004 and then he went in NBA. He played 7 years (476 games) with the New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, winning the title twice, in 2009 and 2010. In the summer of 2011, Vujacic decided to take the offer of Anadolu Efes, becoming the sar of the Instanbul team.
1 - More or less everyone saw that video in which Kobe encourage you, before 2 free throws, speaking in italian: what can you tell us about that episode, your relationship with Kobe, if you usually talked together in italian?
"Yeah, I met with Kobe the first day i was drafted. I came to the camp. We spoke with Kobe in Italian. We started the friendship with respect to each other. He is an hard worker and I’m an hard worker too. Knowing that we play in the same position, I learned a lot from him".
2 - Your nickname is "The Machine" and we all know the reason: why are you so good from 3? Is it because of a particular technique to shoot or for a different secret or what else?
"That nickname came whan I played in LA. Lakers TV announcer gave that name to me. Maybe because of shooting, but I do not know why exactly. We were on a ten day road trip, I played well and have scored some points".
"If I go back to the NBA I definitely go back with the purpose to win another championship ring. I stayed here because last year left a sour taste, the way the season finished. I am staying in Europe, I wanna win the titles at which platform we fight as well".3 - You were a free agent while the lockout began and you signed with Efes: this year you're playing again in Turkey. Did you have the possibility to come back to NBA but decided to stay in Europe or you hadn't offers from NBA?
4 - Is there the NBA again in your future or you'll stay in Europe?
"I am not thinking about what will happen. I wanna win the championship here. I also want to win the Euroleague. We’ll see, right now I am focused only on my team’s success".
5 - You played both the Euroleague and the NBA: are there so much differences between the 2 as in the past? Which are the main differences?
"NBA is a little bit faster, more physical and the games last longer. There is not much difference. Euroleague and NBA are becoming similar and close".
6 - Efes every summer build a great team but every time is not able to reach the Final Four or to win the Euroleague: how do you explain it? Do you need something else to face CSKA, Barça, Panathinaikos?
"I think that it is past and we have to focus on the present. We’re in a good position right now. We are playing seriously and must win as much as we can. Last season we had bad luck due to injuries. Big factor is staying healthy and catch the momentum".
7 - You started your great career in Udine, in Italy. How much important has been Italy for your career and your life? And which "relationship" do you have with Italy nowadays?
"Italy is my second home, it is not secret. I love Italy. First baby steps and a lot of friends there. Great times in Italy. Un saluto a tutti tifosi di basket!"