The Slovenia Times

A Slam Dunk National Brand


Sport is not just a game. It is our lifestyle. Our soul we keep above the competitive outcome. It is our export to the world. Our quality of life that keeps reminding the world who we are, where we stand and what we stand for. Because we don't follow only our passion, we follow our effort. We don't laud athleticism and raw talent, we rely on fundamentals and hard work. Leon Štukelj, Miro Cerar, Brane Oblak, Tina Maze, Primož Roglič and Luka Dončić style.

At the start of the 2018 NBA season, there were 16 NBA players from what was once Yugoslavia, out of the combined population of 21 million. There were just 48 other players from the rest of Europe, a population of over 700 million. Slovenia had 2 players out of a population of 2 million, while Italy, a country of over 60 million people, also had 2 players. It is tempting to wonder what a recipe for such success is, if, somehow, the passion for the game here is different than it is at so many other places. But the closer we look, the answer appears to be in simple accessibility, tradition and mentality, in time-tested virtues of coaching, dedication and discipline.

The new 'I feel Slovenia' awakening has arrived. In the form of a basketball showcase we call the "The Matador." We are its host, here to display our coexistence with sport that is, to us, what hip-hop is to New York City, cheese is to Wisconsin, coffee is to Seattle, technology is to Silicon Valley, Nike is to Portland, what our Luka Dončić is to Dallas. 

Slovenia's partnership with the Dallas Mavericks, the NBA team of 21-year-old Slovenian phenomenon and, now, ambassador of Slovenian tourism, is the culmination of decades of that connectivity, that association between sport and national images. That bond shared between our country and this national culture called "sport" that is inseparable and undeniable. Our tradition, hard work and motivation. As Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban said, Dončić's success is "a testament to not only Luka's talent, but also his willingness to work hard."

Dončić, the new Mavericks' triple-double record holder, is obviously a difference-maker. Not only is he one of the world's best players, his game reflects who we are individually; it reflects what we Slovenians represent as a country. He's been boosting our national identity at the global level and there has never been a better time for our national performance seen in sports to enhance our economic and social development. Partnership with the Mavericks includes promoting our 'I feel Slovenia' brand at 20 NBA home games, 10 within this and 10 within the next season.

So let's show the world how we do it. How we do it both on and off the court. The real Slovenia's national brand. Where we feel the nature and pair Michelin-starred food and wine, where we do business and tourism like we play the game. Not by chasing the end result, but rather by embracing the process. Not by simple entertainment, but by giving bits of our soul.


More from Nekategorizirano