Dobar dan Croatia!
My name is Brian Kortovich and I’ll be taking you along with me as I work towards my dreams of making the NBA and Croatian National Team for 2012 Olympic games.
Over the next few weeks I’ll talk about my experiences playing here in NYC, playing in Croatia, and everywhere in between (trust me – I mean everywhere)… But before all of those stories, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about my basketball journey so far…
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and live in New York City during the off-seasons and between contracts. I have played professionally in Kuwait, France, Israel, Dominican Republic and drafted into the NBA D-League initially in 2009.
Over the past 2 seasons I have been invited to both the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets preseason workouts. It was during these workouts and inter-squad scrimmages that I proved I could play on the biggest stage, the NBA.
Although the teams went in a different direction, I gained valuable experience, enhanced my skills and gained a competitive mental advantage that I carry with me everyday. Its a humbling feeling to play your best basketball, when it matters the most and to receive praise from coaches and fellow ballers.
*Quotes from NBA Players and Personnel*
“I played ball with Brian recently and there is no doubt that he can play in the NBA. He has the talent, work ethic, and his jump shot is on point. If I were a GM, he’d be on my team.” – Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
“Brian is a lights out shooter and has a great understanding of the game. He
has obviously been overlooked for whatever reason. He can play in the NBA and proved it against our guys in camp. There’s a spot on every NBA roster for Brian. “ – Dan D’Antoni, New York Knicks’ Assistant Coach
“Brian is a tough competitor who knows the game and has a great stroke. He has seen the level of energy and commitment that it takes to play at this level. I love his passion.” – Allan Houston, New York Knicks’ all-time great and current Knicks’ Assistant GM
“BK can shoot the rock with the best of them, at any level. He can definitely be an asset to teams in the NBA.” – Sam Mitchell, Former NBA Coach of the Year: Toronto Raptors and NJ Nets coach
“Brian is a great floor leader, very heady, can make shots off the dribble or catch and shoot. He’s got a great chance to make an NBA roster and his work ethic will keep him in the League.” – Anthony Morrow, New Jersey Nets SG
Earlier I mentioned the Croatian National team, and make no mistake, I’ll be doing what it takes to make that squad in time for the big Olympic Games. I am truly honored to have officially become a Croatian Citizen, receiving my passport within this past year. Its been a long road since I began the process over 3 years ago, but it has been more than worth the wait.
With a Croatian Passport in my hands a huge opportunity has opened up, and I know I have the talent to help the National Team turn some heads in London. It would not only be a dream to be a part of the London Olympic games this 2012 summer, but an honor to represent the country of Croatia!!!
Ok, I’ve got to hit the gym and keep on practicing my jumper (500 shots a day, every day), but I’ll be back with some thoughts on the differences I saw in practicing and playing in Croatia versus here in the hoops mecca of New York City.
Until then –
Brian Kortovich aka Smokin’ Aces
– posted on January 26th 2012