Fresh from a four-game winning streak, the Utah Jazz is gearing up to take on the Charlotte Hornets away tomorrow night but Bogdanovic and Gobert take some time to discuss basketball’s impact in their home countries.
Utah currently holds a 17-11 record and are hungry for more as they prove to be a force on both ends of the court, shown during last night’s win over the Atlanta Hawks, as Bogdanovic enjoys an average over 20 PPG for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old forward is playing a more aggressive role as he tries to compensate for Utah’s string of injuries earlier in the year.
Tomorrow’s game is part of this season’s NBA primetime which means Bogdanovic’s fans back home in Croatia can watch him play:
"The NBA - it's growing internationally. In Europe - in my country - they're showing the games on national TV, so it's great for people over there to see the best basketball in the world." That didn't happen for the last 20 or 30 years. It's great for young fans and young kids to see that kind of basketball."
"It was difficult [as a child]. YouTube was not big enough. Back then, there was just highlights to see some of the games. Kukoc was big time so we were all following him... Now it's way easier with social media and YouTube is big right now, so there are games all around the world."
He goes on to credit the European style of basketball for positively influencing the US game:
"Quin (Snyder) was in Europe for a couple of years, so he brought back some European style of basketball. Also, the Jazz has been one of the best defensive teams in the league for the last couple of years. That's also a Euro-style of basketball."
Bogdanovic isn’t the only Jazz player to welcome the primetime games in Europe as French-native Rudy Gobert expresses his amazement and excitement that French fans can now watch NBA on the big screen:
"When I was a kid, I wasn't able to watch. We had to get special channels and that was not easy at all. Now it's easier. At least every day, the fans can watch shows and recaps in the morning. Primetime games is great. I wish we as a team had more this year, but I'm excited to have a few."
Gobert continues to talk of the importance in expanded the NBA’s broadcasting reach globally given the huge number of fans not only in France but the rest of Europe who loves the game of basketball. Next year’s Paris showdown between the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets is already garnering a lot of support:
"It's already sold out. Everyone is looking for tickets. I think it shows we have a great fanbase over there. It's great to have a game there."
Looking towards tomorrow’s game against the Hornets Gobert doesn’t “want to put any limits” on what the Jazz are capable of, saying: "Obviously, we want to be one of the top teams in the world. We know that we're not there yet, but we have the potential to be. We want to put the work in every day, hoping to get to this point."
The 27-year-old is also hopeful for a chance to win Best Defensive Player for the third time, something he strives for every year but with a lot of tough defensive players coming to the forefront this year, competition is tough.
NBA Saturdays presented by NBA2K20 on Sky Sports – part of a record 48 Primetime games live on Sky Sports starting from 7.00 pm every weekend. This week on 21 December the Charlotte Hornets host the Utah Jazz on Sky Sports Arena from 10.00 pm.