Basketball team receives Golden Order of Merit from president
The golden basketball players were decorated for the exceptional athletic achievement, promotion of Slovenia in the global arena and inspiring fans at home.
The unbeatable team at the EuroBasket, captained by NBA star Goran Dragić, featured Dončić, Randolph, Gašper Vidmar, Klemen Prepelič, Jaka Blažič, Edo Murić, Saša Zagorac, Žiga Dimec, Matic Rebec, Vlatko Čančar and Aleksej Nikolić.
Dončić, who recently became a member of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, and the naturalised American Randolph did not attend today's ceremony. The pair will also not play for the Slovenian team in the qualifications for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup this Thursday against Spain and on Sunday against Montenegro.
According to the president's office, at the EuroBasket in September 2017 "our players emitted energy, power, self-confidence and determination. 'We, Slovenians!' was the chant that echoed all over the world during the tournament. The European gold medal has a shine of victory for Slovenia that has never been seen before," the office said.
"What gives it an additional shine is the fact that it was the first gold medal for Slovenia in major competitions. In the process, Dragić and Dončić made it to the top five of the tournament, and Dragić became the most valuable player," the release adds.
The decoration ceremony was held as part of an open day in the Presidential Palace held upon Statehood Day.