Ep. 85: Damjan Rudež on Croatia reaching the World Cup Final

Damjan Rudez, Croatia, Former Pacers

What was the feeling in Croatia when they played in the FIFA World Cup Final over the weekend? I had to find out.

On this episode of the Pacers Podcast, I called up former Pacer forward Damjan Rudež, a native of Zagreb, Croatia. While he’s not a huge soccer fan, the monthlong run by Croatia, with a population just over 4.1 million people, was special and impactful for the professional basketball player.

France ultimately won, 4-2.

Rudež, who’s 32 years old, has represented his country several times in international competition, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a FIBA World Cup. But this was different. This was memorable — and he explains why.

“This is more than I’ve ever felt proud in my life. I swear. I can’t even tell you. It’s the state of catharsis and exhilaration.”

He was a little excited, can’t you tell?

This was part of the celebration.

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I welcome your questions and comments @ScottAgness on Twitter or via email.

Topics Discussed:

  • The emotions sweeping Croatia after their fun to the World Cup Final
  • The homecoming celebration for the team, the streets filled with 300,000-plus fans
  • Whether he communicated with any ex-teammates from France, like Ian Mahinmi
  • Playing three years in the NBA
  • The process of finding a team overseas and recently signing with UCAM Murcia

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