Meet StreetballOG, A FIBA-Licensed International Basketball Tournament in Ogulin

By 22 June 2020

June 22, 2020 - Meet the FIBA-licensed StreetballOG tournament, a streetball spectacle in Ogulin. 

After one of the daily trainings, a team of boys from the neighborhood in the small mountain town of Ogulin decided to realize their dream. And that dream was to bring the best world players to Ogulin and organize an international streetball tournament. After months of organizing, gathering sponsors, and convening teams from all over Europe in 2018, the day came - StreetballOG FIBA international tournament was established in Ogulin.

And that day, it rained, a downpour. But that was not enough for some to give up their desire to return the small town and Croatian basketball to its former sporting prestige. In 2019, they received a FIBA license and hosted 12 teams, 4 of which were foreign.

Today, they continue their fight and are organizing the third edition, to which they invite all parties to join this street basketball spectacle.

But let's start from the beginning. Natalia Zielinska interviewed Miljan, the coach of KK Ogulin and one of the founders of the StreetballOG FIBA tournament.

Hello Miljan, first of all, why streetball?

Primarily because of the symbolism. The greatest talents of world basketball were created on concrete playgrounds in the middle of urban settlements. Sports halls are a luxury. It does not require a rich infrastructure for individuals to succeed in basketball, and a lot of perseverance and love for sports is enough. That is the case with Ogulin; we have no infrastructure, we are not the capital, we are quite isolated. But our concrete basketball court is always full of young enthusiasts, and we believe they will end up in the NBA one day.


In addition, this type of basketball is becoming more popular, simpler and more attractive for recreational players. It is played in two teams of 3 players. But it is demanding enough to become an Olympic discipline by 2020. So, we have a symbolic aspect but also an interesting and demanding sport discipline.

Where did you get the idea to organize the tournament?

The very idea of ​​the international StreetballOG FIBA ​​tournament was born after many years of organizing a local tournament for all generations of basketball players in Ogulin and the surrounding area. As the tournament has always attracted a lot of attention from citizens, and in parallel streetball has become increasingly popular in the world, somehow everything went in that direction to make an international tournament with a FIBA ​​license.

It started over a beer in the summer talking about being able to make a tournament in Ogulin that would be on the world map and what seemed like a completely impossible idea was a real challenge, so we decided to make it possible. So, in 2018, we connected everything and started the organization, started the tournament licensing process, used all our basketball acquaintances domestic and foreign, and simply started the story. After the first year, due to the rain, we held a tournament in a hall with 12 teams, and the following year, everything was as we imagined. The second edition of the tournament, we had 14 teams in the open, made various contacts with teams from Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Bosnia, Azerbaijan, USA and shared experiences.

Everyone praised the organization for giving this strength and our desires are only growing - we simply want Ogulin to be an unavoidable stop when someone in the basketball circles of our region mentions streetball.

What are the reactions? Are you satisfied with the cooperation and response of the viewers?

Whenever we travel to other tournaments, we have the feeling that there is a greater response and interest in basketball, whenever we go to a tournament, because of promotion, contact and experience, we are surprised by the interest of the audience, sponsors, etc. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Precisely because of this neglect of small places, but also of young people, today's basketball is where it is.

If we think we can achieve something, we have to start working at the lowest, local level, create habits in children, encourage them to believe in themselves, to continue training to one day achieve something. That's why we started organizing the tournament. We wanted to bring good teams, domestic and foreign, so that everyone, especially young people, has the opportunity to see the best of Croatian streetball.


But besides that, it is important that domestic teams compete in the tournament, so that we can see young spectators in relation to foreign teams and that we also have our own qualities, and that it is not all that unattainable. In this way, we create self-confidence in young people, strengthen the love for local sports, but also show how sport can be both fun and an opportunity for further development.

And did you succeed in that idea?

Last year, we partially succeeded, we had the best Croatian team, the boys from Ogulin played for third place with the team from Azerbaijan, where there were two Americans. Unfortunately, they were defeated in overtime, but what the audience, all those gathered could experience and feel that some basketball players from Ogulin have the knowledge, strength and capabilities as everyone else. So we started breaking down prejudices and underestimating ourselves because we are from a smaller background.


Today, it is impossible to do anything if you don't believe in yourself and work on it. That is something that is the essence of this tournament and that its message to young people and generations to come is irrelevant, it is sports and basketball. All that matters is the idea, the determination to work and success must come, and it is always the result and equivalent of the effort and work invested.

So what is the plan for this year?

This year we didn't even think that the tournament wouldn't take place because of COVID, and we just kept thinking about what and how. Sponsorships are a bigger problem in all of this than inviting and informing teams. But we do not give up, the support of local entrepreneurs and crafts exists, they need a lot to close the financial picture, and this is the biggest challenge. This year we want to get our own background, organize a concert so that foreign players can feel the tourist benefits of Ogulin, introduce everyone who comes to the natural beauty of Ogulin and its surroundings, our food, and simply with basketball to use the time for additional facilities. We are trying to create another platform through streetball to promote our region, the tourist offer of Ogulin, and the opportunities that are opening up.

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