Vasilije Micic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul steps into the spotlight for the first episode of the “Remember The Why”, a Euroleague Basketball and Adidas collaboration in which Turkish Airlines EuroLeague stars discuss their personal journeys.
The two-time EuroLeague champion and Final Four MVP was interviewed about the key moments of his career that propelled his path to stardom and the lessons he learned along the way.
Micic emphasized that some of his biggest decisions didn’t seem logical to others: leaving the EuroLeague to sign for Tofas Bursa at age 22 in a quest to fulfil his potential; moving to Zalgiris Kaunas the next season with a backup role under coach Sarunas Jasikevicius; and, most successfully, joining an Efes team that had ranked dead last in the EuroLeague before he signed in the summer of 2018.
“It is definitely the best satisfaction so far in my career,” Micic says. “At that moment, I felt that my experience with Zalgiris and Coach Saras was more than enough that I felt that I wanted to prove that somewhere. I wanted to show that knowledge on the court, not just by talking about basketball. And I felt the opportunity in Efes came at the right time. Even though everybody was kind of shocked, I felt that this was good because I wanted to create something from the bottom, from zero.”
One year later, Efes was in the EuroLeague Championship Game, completing one of the greatest turnarounds in basketball history, and launched on its way to back-to-back continental titles in 2021 and 2022.
“I realized after that first season that it’s time to stay there and prove it one more time, one more time,” Micic says. “And then, without knowing that we will win the championships, but having that improvement on my skin and great experience, it’s great.”
Micic spoke, too, about overcoming a severe knee injury he had at age 17. Always aware of his great talent, he learned from that injury that good and bad things can happen in a basketball journey, but being able to weather the storms and enjoy the good times is part of the process.
“These situations never put me back; they always pushed me up and made me stronger…” Micic says. “Nothing accidentally happened in my life, to be honest. I mean, with some sort of talent that I obviously have, there was a lot of work that nobody followed or nobody saw, but I knew how much I did. And that’s why I think each player who arrived to this level has that opportunity to believe in these things.”
Micic also emphasizes the importance of filtering outside comments to instead trust your own skills and the people around you. Among the biggest lessons he learned was that, way more than stats, putting the team first is essential for success.
“Not checking your statistics or your individual details – about the points, whether it’s assists or rebounds – that can really help you to maintain that level of professional success,” he says. “Most of the players are willing to have the best statistic for themselves, but it’s really impossible to be always on that level and to be able to succeed to win championships. So for me, this is something that each player should work on if you want to win.”
Micic concludes that one of the biggest features of his progress to stardom has been to recognize that consistency matters most.
“There are many, many talented players that can shine for one month, two months,” Micic says. “But to be able to do their work the best for the team and still stay recognizable individually, it’s something that I bring – I think, in the last years – always to the table.
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