The beauty of basketball

Oct 20, 2014 by Hristo Nikolov - Ljubljana, Slovenia Print
The beauty of basketball

Some players are media friendly but none like Hristo Nikolov of Union Olimpija Ljubljana, who has taken his basketball devotion to the next level. Three years ago, Nikolov founded his own basketball website,, where tells the world what is going on in Bulgarian basketball. At the same time, he is trying to make Olimpija go deep into the 2014-15 Eurocup. Nikolov will tell us all about Olimpija this season, on and off the court, so be ready to follow his blog right here on!

As you probably know, we beat Besiktas Integral Forex in Istanbul and that is, of course, a big thing for us. It was an easy game until the end of the third quarter. We controlled the game on defense, and maybe offensively, but mostly on defense. We took a lot of rebounds, but then our concentracion and focus went down in the fourth quarter. That's when we lost a lot of rebounds, they hit a lot of crazy shots and got back into the game. Still, we managed to win it, which was the most important thing, and I am happy about it. It is never easy against Besiktas and teams at its level.

We were up by 18 already in the fourth quarter Besiktas got back into the game. Our scouting coach talked a lot about Ryan Broekhoff, the Australian guy, and what a great shooter he was. They told us that he can score like crazy and this is exactly what happened. We tried to play good defense on him but he kept hitting crazy shots. That, combined with our concentration not being at its best level, almost cost us the win.

I am looking forward to the next two Eurocup games. We will play against Khimki Moscow Region at home in Stozice Arena. Khimki is definitely the strongest team in this group. Unfortunately, we will play with no fans in the stands due to what happened in a Eurocup game last season. Still, we have to improve our game and keep going with the same focus and hunger. If we get this win, we can show other teams that we are serious about the competition. Only a few teams have beaten Khimki in the Eurocup in recent years. When we scout a game, we try to find the way to win it, no matter who we face. It all starts from defense, this is our first priority.

After that, We will travel to Hungary face Szolnoki Olaj, one of my former teams. I had the luck to play for Olaj and it was a great season. I achieved a lot of things with this team and made a lot of friends. Their fans showed me a lot of love and we had great moments together. We had a great season there and it will be a special game for me. Of course, in those 40 minutes I will fight for Olimpija no matter what. The most important thing is to get this win and keep going.

There is a great atmosphere on our team. We have very funny guys like Alen Omic, who is young but with a sense of humour. We have a great combination of young talents and experienced players. We have a lot of young players and when they come off the bench, they bring in a lot of fresh energy that we need. I have to be honest: I am happy because when the bench players are coming to the court, we don't lose potential. We need this energy and they can run forever! We have a great chemistry. We respect each other, every player in his position, which is very important. Respect is the most important thing. We trust each other and work hard to build a good relationship with each other on and off the court. And that leads to wins. It is a good formula, of course.

This is my first Eurocup season since 2009, when I was in the competition with Lukoil Academic Sofia. I really like being back. It is a great competition, a great tournament, at a very high level, which is the best for a player who wants to keep improving. For me, it is another challenge. I go out there in every game trying to help my team win. It is a great thing to play against good players who have proved themselves in recent years. I will enjoy this season a lot, try to improve my game and help my team by giving 100%.

Speaking of basketball websites, I have my own, about Bulgarian basketball! It is and I started it in 2011. I had the idea in my head for a long time. Bulgaria is a small country and you don't have many basketball sites, so I figured out that I want to do something like this. I found the right people, we started to do it and it has been going for three years. The site is working great, we also have a lot of bloggers and now also a new design which we unveiled two months ago. Everything is going well! Honestly, I don't do it for the money. The guys who know how these things work know that you cannot feed a family out of this. We love basketball and have an Internet site with independent news. I like it. I will try to keep it going as long as I can.

There are no Bulgarian teams in the Eurocup, and I believe I am the only Bulgarian player in the competition. As a Bulgarian, I am representing my country everywhere I go, especially in a situation like this. Basketball-wise, Bulgaria has not improved a lot in recent years. There are not a lot of Bulgarian players at the highest level, so when I go on the court, I feel I am representing my country and myself, trying to build a better name for both.

So, wish us luck in the upcoming games! Go Olimpija!

PS: Although this is not Eurocup (even when it was a game between two Eurocup teams), the most unbelievable thing I have seen in my life happened in our Adriatic League game with Partizan NIS Belgrade this weekend. We were up by 30 points, I was sitting on the bench and then Blaz Mahkovic did THIS:

At first, we couldn't even understand why he wanted to save the ball, then we saw the ball go up on a high arc and thought it may go in... and it did! We couldn't believe our eyes. This is the beauty of basketball, seeing something that you think is impossible. And him being a teammate, at home, against a good opponent... it was truly a magic moment, something I will never forget!