|Lipko already picked up work, sacrificin his Christmas holidays to promote EuroBasket 2013 in his native Slovenia|
Lipko is the official mascot of EuroBasket 2013 and was first introduced to the public at the EuroBasket 2013 Draw. He is a likable promoter of EuroBasket 2013 and Slovenia, who we got to know as a supporter of a green way of thinking and an active lifestyle. Lipko is very communicative, especially on the internet, where you can follow his official Twitter account @Lipko2013. He gave this interview to EuroBasket2013.org.
Lipko, where does your name come from?
The name comes from the linden tree [Lipa in Slovenian]. I'm proud that my name is so unique and that it can be easily pronounced in different languages. What makes me even more proud is that the linden tree is one of the first symbols of the independent Slovenia.
Of course, but some say the linden tree leaf is already forgotten.
Yes, some people forget things fast. Do you remember that amazing ‘Slovenia, my country' commercial and the friendliness and warmth, we proudly sent into the world with that TV ad? That's the kind of message we want to share with the world. If my name links to those times, let it be. Every tree and every living being needs time to grow. Slovenian basketball also grew from the successes in the nineties through quarter-finals to semi-finals. And next year... we will see.
How old are you?
I am 22 years old, just like Slovenia.
You live in Smrekovec in Koroška and you are a symbiosis of nature and human.
Near my hometown Smrekovec you can find the oldest linden tree in Slovenia, it is more than 500 year of age. The symbiosis of nature and humans is innate to the Slovenian people. So many people outside of Slovenia don't have the same privileges we have here. In Slovenia you don't have to walk more than a few steps to the forest, pasture or a park. Another interesting thing about my home: some time ago Bostjan Nachbar contacted me on Twitter and proudly stated that he is no longer the only member of the Slovenian national team that comes from Koroška.
Lipko, as a mascot you have the important assignment of promoting EuroBasket 2013, even before it starts. What will you be doing in the meantime?
My schedule is very busy. The goal is simple: to be present at big events and visit various groups of people. During Christmas holidays I've visited seven events in six different cities! I visited Slovenian basketball clubs and spent time with future Nachbars, Dragićs and Barićs. I will be present in all EuroBasket 2013 host cities and will also try ski jumping in Planica. And this is only the beginning (smiles).
What about presenting EuroBasket abroad?
|Lipko is not only friends with Bostjan Nachbar but also with Matjaz Smodis|
I will go also abroad, sometimes together with the ambassadors Ivo Daneu, Rasho Nesterovic and Peter Vilfan. They are representatives of three Slovenian basketball generations and true legends. All three of them will play an important role promoting EuroBasket 2013 abroad and of course I will help. But I will also communicate with fans on the internet. I'm the loudest on Twitter (@Lipko2013)!
You were chosen as the mascot from four candidates through an online voting and received more than half of the votes. What about those who did not vote for you?
I have to prove to them, that I will be a great promoter of the biggest sporting event in the history of our homeland. There are many different tastes and it is good to have diversity. But we have the love for basketball in common. That makes us all promoters of EuroBasket 2013, no matter if the hair colour is black, grey, blonde, brown or linden-leaf-green.
You say you are a green mascot? Is that only because of your colour or is it also because of your green attitude?
Both is true. I believe in treating nature and environment in a responsible way. Such a big event as EuroBasket can play an important part promoting those values. I too will encourage people to act responsibly towards the environment. In practice that means less pollution, waste separation, reducing the usage of paper and above all, green thinking. Slovenians are familiar with that kind of mentality and we are happy to welcome people that think alike to our country.
A mascot exists in multiple ways. It is an entertainer for the fans and of course a fantastic souvenir and gift. When will Lipko be available in stores and where?
My little brothers will be available for purchase a few months before the start of the EuroBasket. I will let you know about the exact time and place at a later date.
And now the most important thing - Lipko at EuroBasket 2013. What exactly will you be doing?
My mission will be to take care of an excellent atmosphere at every single EuroBasket game and encouraging the fans to cheer for their national teams in a positive way. All teams are of equal importance to me, because they are all our guests. However, it is not a secret that my heart will beat especially hard during every match of the Slovenian national team.