Serbian basketball team
We had the honor to talk to the Serbian national basketball team member – Maja Skoric.
Maja made her first basketball steps and achievements in the club “Proleter” from Novi Sad which, as she says, she is very proud of.
She remained in Proleter until the age of eighteen, after which she continued her career abroad. She played for clubs from Hungary, Slovakia, and France. As she mentioned in the conversation, her career abroad brought her faster maturation, independence, as well as lifelong friendships.
She tells our readers to set high goals, be persistent, and that in the end, all the effort will pay off. The proof that Skoric is led by this is the fact that she was always close to the national team, believed in herself, was persistent, and finally played her first big competition at the European Championship 2017.
After that, she participated in winning a bronze medal at the European Championship in 2019, and in 2021 she became the European champion and represented the colors of Serbia at the Olympic Games.
Below, read useful tips from Maja Skoric to all athletes who are developing their careers, as well as what she has to say to young athletes who are thinking about going to America through a sports scholarship.
1. We are well acquainted with your career path, but can you tell our readers how your career went and what is path that every top athlete must go through to achieve something that is considered a success?
I would say that my career has gone through some detours. I come from a small club – Proleter, which I am very proud of, and in which the right value system has been instilled in me. Schooling was always in focus and had priority in my younger days, so I studied economics at the state university, and at the same time progressed in basketball without a clear idea that one day I would do it professionally, but my career chose me. Everyone’s path is different, you build it yourself according to your personal feelings along with the support of your parents or more experienced people close to you. It is certain that many sacrifices await you, but also many beautiful moments that can only be experienced in this profession. Success is overcoming your limits.
2. Since you have spent part of your career abroad, what do you think the advantages of that are, and what is your general impression of life outside Serbia?
I have spent almost my entire professional career abroad. Such a life brings independence, rapid maturation, the beauty of getting to know other cultures and mentalities, and friendships that remain for a lifetime.
3. You travel a lot, and you have recently returned from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. For every athlete, the Olympic Games are the highlight, and it is something that every athlete strives for. Can you tell us a little more about what it is like to participate in such an event? What is the atmosphere like among so many people of different nationalities?
The Olympics are something special. Realization of a childhood dream. It is an unforgettable experience to be a part of the Olympic team of Serbia, to experience victories, defeats, to celebrate medals with everyone. The feeling is indescribable. Passing by the athletes you admire every day seems like a reality at times.
How important do you think playing sports is in general and how can it contribute to the development of a young person and what benefits does it bring?
Playing sports is extremely important for a quality and healthy life, and many important lessons are learned through it. You will understand how important discipline, perseverance, togetherness are. Learn how to endure defeat, get up when you fall, and enjoy victories.
4. How important do you think education is in a young person's life?
As I pointed out in the first question, education is extremely important. If you decide to play sports professionally, that is what will set you apart from many athletes. And it will be very important for your life after your career.
5. Would you recommend to young people that, if the conditions allow it, in addition to playing sports get educated to the highest levels? Do you think that is doable?
It is difficult but doable. As much as the glow of sports success pulls you, don’t forget about education. You can achieve great things even if you slow down your career for a few years for the sake of school.
6. I'm sure you know people, among other things, some of your teammates in the national team were or are still at one of the American universities, who had a chance to experience this. What do you think about such a possibility and would you recommend it to young people?
Yes, I have a few friends who were educated in America. They talk about that period as a great experience and the most beautiful days. They acquired an education, experienced something completely different from what life in Serbia offers. Some of them continued their basketball careers in Europe, while others stayed in America. It is individual and depends on personal preferences. I support such a program because it brings many possibilities for the future.
7. Finally, what would you say to young athletes who are now developing their careers?
Be persistent, set high goals, and make incredible efforts. One day it will all pay off. Train the hardest on your toughest days. Choose good coaches and believe in the process.