|24 August 2013|
| Basketball found a new location on Saturday: Koper Bay of the Slovenian coast |
After an unforgettable EuroBasket 2013 First Round Draw in Postojna Cave, which is still well remembered across Europe, another historical event took place in Koper Bay and will be reported about around the world.
The organisers of EuroBasket, in partnership with the main sponsor of the event BEKO and other sponsors Hypo Alpe Adria, Fructal, Telekom Slovenije, Petrol, Zavarovalnica Triglav, Spar, Laško Group, FIBA Europe, Municipality of Koper and Port of Koper organised a basketball tournament at sea.
It was a unique event - the first basketball game ever to be played on the Slovenian sea, taking place 300 metres from the coast of Koper on a raft owned by the company Adria ING and is used to service the Port of Koper. The biggest raft in Slovenia, it is 40 metres long, 20 metres wide and weighs an unbelievable 1,500 tons. The basketball court that was placed on the raft took three days preparation, and proved even more complicated than building the court in Postojna Cave.
The teams, made up of former superstars of Croatian, Italian and Slovenian basketball, and were put together by basketball legends Dino Meneghin, Dino Rađa and Rasho Nesterović did battle against each another.
The first of the mentioned players, Meneghin, unfortunately could not take part at the event himself due to personal reasons. The invited guests and media representatives watched the dramatic games, which were made up of two 20-minute halves, from the nearby Prince of Venice ship.
The Italian team was led by coach Alberto Bucci, and was made up of Claudio Codebella, Francesco Donati, Luigi Mentasti, Giuseppe Corvo, Marco Tirel, Mario Boni, Marco Solfrini, Damiano Brigo and Flavio Carera.
Experienced Croatian veterans Dino Rađa, Žan Tabak, Aramis Naglić, Hrvoje Perinčić, Darko Krunić, Arijan Komazec, Alan Gregov, Boris Gnjidić and Miro Jurić did not even need a coach, whilst Slovenia was coached by the legendary Ivo Daneu who guided Rasho Nesterović, Slavko Duščak, Jaka Daneu, Goran Jagodnik, Roman Horvat, Rado Trifunović, Matjaž Smodiš, Marko Milič, Darko Mirt and Slavko Kotnik.
After the event, the players that took part in the game were full of positive impressions.
Rasho Nesterović, one of the fathers of the idea said, "The event is great. People across Europe will see the event and it will also be attractive to those people that don't know much about basketball."
It is a unique, rarely-seen venue. Croatian former superstar Dino Radja agreed on that. "The idea is something original, something that has never been seen before. The Slovenian Basketball Federation is doing a wonderful job for promotion of EuroBasket and I wish for the event to turn out for the best," he said, adding, "You know, I've never played basketball on the sea, even though I'm from Dalmatia."
This was also a new experience for Žan Tabak.
"I am playing on a raft for the first time. I actually played basketball before at the sea, but it was 3 on 3 basketball on a cruise ship in the Caribbean."
Slovenian former player Roman Horvat compared the event to the EuroBasket 2013 First Round Draw in Postojna Cave.
"For sure this is an even bigger attraction than the draw in Postojna Cave, despite the fact that the draw was excellent too.
"We like to play in the sun and at the sea more. And the organisation of both was fantastic. I think that none of the players that came here have experienced a thing like this before, and we have some great names here who have experienced a lot in their lives."
Former Italian star Claudio Coldebella had a message for all the Italian fans who like to support their national team: "Slovenia is a homeland of basketball and the idea to promote the event in such a style is fantastic. One of the mottos of EuroBasket 2013 is that we should feel basketball and we definitely feel it here.
"I will be glad to return to Koper to take a look at the Italian games in the championship. I want to tell all the Italian fans that this is a beautiful city. The summer is coming to an end and you can still catch it here.
"Also the people here are amazingly friendly."