Mirza Teletovic, who plays again Sunday in the FIBA Europe Qualifying Tournament, took some time out this week to talk with Avaz, one of the big Bosnian websites, about life in the United States and the adjustment from Bosnia, his love of Turkish coffee, who he hung with last season and who he will hang with this year ... a fellow native of Mostar, Bojan Bogdanovic. Thanks again to eunets of the NetsDaily forum for the translation!
Can you compare life in America and in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
"Life in America is, indeed, much faster compared to life here. It is tiring and requires maximum commitment. Given that in New York everything is about sports, media pressure is huge, but when I come to Bosnia after eight, nine months, somehow that doesnt change! Again, there is crowd around me! Regardless of all this, I am delighted that I am home."
"I am relatively young, but am old-fashioned. I enjoy sitting and drinking Turkish coffee with "Rahat-lokum", I like especially our Džezvice (coffee hand-made in Džezva). It relaxes me sitting with my parents, talking about the general situation. In America it is hard to find time for that! You are always going somewhere in a hurry, yet always late somewhere else."
With who you spend most time?
"With my wife Maja. With her, I am most relaxed. Then, my conditioning coach (Dr. Jeremy Bettle?). He also loves to drink coffee, tea, so we find ourselves ... two totally different cultures, but we found something in common. I'm going out with colleagues for lunch, dinner ... Tornike Shengelia guy from Georgia. I hung out with him a lot last year, as well as with Paul Pierce."
When we speak about dinner can you tell us something about food in America?
"Honestly, it's all quick, high calorie .... I am in "good shape" because most time I eat what my wife cooks me. She is from Dalmacia (region in Croatia along the Adriatic coast). Her fish dishes, skillfully prepared, are delicious. Light foods are my favorite dishes."
How difficult are all those road trips?
"It is hard, we lose a lot of time on airplanes. Every second to third day is game. I was more than once in a situation where we came into a hotel settle in rooms and I'll go out for a few minutes. When I come back, I've forgotten which is my room! But, NBA teams do everything to provide us with as much rest, sleep, relaxation as possible. It is also important that each player knows what suits him best when traveling."
How do you manage to find the time to socialize with fellow teammates?
"Usually before the game, we get in a day earlier to the city where we play. Then we get together or divide into groups and go out to dinner. It has become a habit in our business. And this year I'll get a colleague from Mostar Bojan Bogdanovic, who arrived from Turkey's Fenerbahce Ulker!"
Given that you are a young person who has really accomplished much in private and business terms, what are your next goals?
"It's true that everything that I've planned I've achieved with help of my father and manager. The basic rule to achieving these results is to meticulously, step by step, go to the goal. As an athlete, I have a lot of privileges, primarily the money I've earned, but you really do need to rethink what and how to do in life after basketball. I think I have financially secured my life after sports. So now I'm thinking only about vacations and travel.
What is the hardest task that you set for yourself?
"To help other people. We all know in what kind of a situation our country is and how people live, especially after these floods. I am doing everything that I can to help those who are affected."
You are also USAID promoter of children's rights in our country, tell us more about this cooperation?
"I am happy to see every change in support of our youth. I love to hang out with our children. I am delighted when one of them is in the path to success. As a promoter, I am there for all the new activities. Representatives of USAID can always count on my support and time when certain activities are planned." (A few days ago, he came to the SPORTS YOUTH GAMES sponsored by USAID.)
Do you have a message for young people, not just athletes, on how to cope with the gray everyday and follow the footsteps of success?
"A positive attitude and work to became better! Persistence and grit are the characteristics of any successful person. Most importantly, everyone needs to get an education, and then they must demonstrate their talent and knowledge. It is necessary that in all of us is born a wish to help Bosnia and Herzogovina, our country. After that, each barrier will be overcome, and success is inevitable!"