|Radoslav Nesterovic during EuroBasket 2007, one of his last appearances for Slovenia|
Radoslav Nesterovic is a representative of the newer generation of Slovenian basketball players, the one that made their mark after the independence of the former Yugoslav country and undisputedly one of the best Slovenian players of all times.
NBA And Euroleague Champion, But Without A Medal From A Big International Events
He is the legendary captain of the Slovenian national team, who during his career achieved almost everything a basketball player can at club level, including Euroleague and NBA titles amongst several national championship titles, but unfortunately could not win any trophy with his national team.
A Product Of Slovan Ljubljana And Partizan Belgrade
In the youth categories Nesterovic developed his talent in the acknowledged basketball schools of Slovan Ljubljana and Partizan Belgrade, before starting his professional career at PAOK Thessaloniki in Greece. He obtained Greek citizenship and received a Greek name, Radoslav Makris, which he used later playing also in Italy.
Big Success Together With Marko Milic At Olimpija
After completing his second year in Greece in 1995, he moved back to Slovenia, this time to Smelt Olimpija, where his rise towards stardom began for real. A year later he was named MVP of the now defunct European Championship for Men 22 and Under. With Olimpija he succeeded in qualifying for the 1997 Euroleague Final Four in Rome and finished third, which was one of the biggest achievements in the history of the club from the Slovenian capital. Interestingly, he achieved this success playing alongside Marko Milic, the volunteers' ambassador of EuroBasket 2013.
Under Messina's Guidance To A Euroleague Title
His quality performances did not go unnoticed and the same year he received an offer to join Kinder Bologna, which he accepted and already the next season Nesterovic became a Euroleage champion with the Italian team led by legendary coach Ettore Messina.
Eleven Years In The NBA, Four Different Teams, One Championship Ring
|EuroBasket 2011 Ambassador Arvydas Sabonis handing over the big shoes to step in to Eurobasket 2013 Ambassador Rasho Nesterovic|
In the same year he was chosen 17th in the NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and a year later he became the second Slovenian to play in the NBA, where he stayed for 11 seasons, which is still the longest stint of all Slovenian players. In the strongest club competition in the world, he played for four different teams, Minnesotta, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs, with which he even won a NBA championship ring in 2005 together with his Slovenian teammate Beno Udrih. In 2010 he returned to Europe to play for Olympiacos Piraeus for one more season, before retiring due to a shoulder injury.
Captain Of An Extremely Talented Slovenian Generation
Nesterovic was the captain of the Slovenian national team until 2008, when he ended his international career, after being a part of Slovenian teams at five EuroBaskets and one FIBA World Championship, never succeeding to take a medal. Rašo, as he is popularly called, holds the tenth place by appearances for the Slovenian national team with 52, scoring 530 points in official matches for Slovenian, which puts him on 8th spot at the all-time Slovenian scoring leaders.
Promoting Basketball As A EuroBasket 2013 Ambassador
Even after the end of his eventful career, he remained involved in basketball as a vice-president of the Slovenian Basketball Federation (KZS). He was also honoured to receive the offer to become one of the EuroBasket 2013 Ambassadors, besides two other Slovenian basketball legends, Ivo Daneu and Peter Vilfan and to have an opportunity to promote the biggest sporting event in the history of independent Slovenia at this position.
Maybe this time his wish to be a part of a big event, where his national team wins a medal, can come true at last. If not as a basketball player, then at least as an event ambassador.