When you're one of the most recognizable bench warmers on a team that wins the NBA Finals and you've got a totally cool haircut, you'd think making your national team in Slovenia would be a cinch. That, however, is not the case for Sasha Vujacic, who believes his fellow countrymen had anti-Sasha agendas.
Vujacic goes into extreme detail on his Web site, telling a story that stretches from his decision to join the Slovenian national team to his coach telling him the team thought he was too injured to help the team.
The short story is as follows: Vujacic's knees hurt, Vujacic gets MRI, Vujacic refuses to practice until team creates treatment schedule, team doesn't create schedule ("pain still remaining sharp"), Vujacic gets own trainer, new trainer advises Vujacic to rest, new trainer talks with team, team says Vujacic must have had long-term injury before practice began, Vujacic loses faith in team.
Just your standard Slovenian national basketball story, right?
Vujacic writes that the team massaged his knees with olive oil to try to help him, a move that surprisingly did not work. Shortly thereafter, the team hit Vujacic where it hurts.
"Coach Zdovc was asking me on a daily basis how I felt and I told him that I was feeling better and better! We came back to Slovenia and I went to Maribor (my home town) to spend two days off before the next team meeting. I trained on my own on my days off! I was feeling strong and ready to shine in my home town, considering that for 7 years I had not played any game there. People of Maribor were very excited (according to the media) to see me play! I told my head coach that I would shine in my home town and he told me that the friendly games didn’t count, what counts is what happens at the European championship in Poland."
Vujacic does not go into detail about his exact reaction, though there is reason to believe it might have looked like this:
Vujacic was not completely discouraged by the experience, as it appears he will use it to drive him to perform even better on the bench for the Lakers next season: "At the end of the day my heart is sad and angry, but now it is time to get back to work in L.A. to help the Lakers win another NBA Championship Ring in 2010!!!!"