Monday, January 27, 2003

As I Wait for Superbowl to Start…

…I notice that Superbowl happens to be the only US sporting event available to Croatian TV audience in season 2002/03.

That is quite peculiar for the country where basketball used to be one of the most popular sports and from where many local talents like Toni Kukoč (Toni Kukoc), Dražen Petrović (Drazen Petrovic) and Dino Radja came to USA to write new pages of basketball history. But NBA apparently doesn't exist for editors of Croatian state television, while Nova TV – the only private television with national coverage and financial resources to air such events – concentrated on English football and alpine skiing.

The reason might be in last year's results of Serbian basketball. Serbo-Montenegrin team was the first in history to beat US team made of NBA professionals while Sacramento Kings with two Serbian talents (or three, if we count Turkoglu, born in Novi Pazar) gave L.A. Lakers such a good run for their money. All that in situation when Croatian basketball is deep crisis and when even Croatian NBA talents don't make some great impact on the game.

Last year, when Croatian state television aired World Basketball Championship, local audience was shocked to see one of Serbian players having pictures of Draža Mihailović (Draza Mihailovic), WW2 commander of Serb Chetniks, tattooed on his arm. Soon Croatian state television got slammed by patriotic critics for airing the spectacle of people having same insignia as those who had recently waged war on Croatia.

Whether the leadership of Croatian state television listened to the critics or simply used them as an excuse to cut costs is irrelevant. Croatian public, for the first time since the war, is denied the opportunity to watch US basketball.

But they could have some compensation in Superbowl, being aired by Nova TV as type this.


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