Partizan Belgrade hits the road on its American tour later this month and the team has just had its dance card punched for another two games to take place in the Midwest. Before taking on the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns on October 3rd and 6th, respectively, the Black-and-Whites will be playing against an outfit called the “Midwest All-Stars.”
The “All-Stars” roster will be comprised of “former and current overseas and NBA players,” and if you’re wondering why “All-Stars” carries the quote marks, well, the team has announced that Scot Pollard and Mateen Cleaves will be “leading” the exhibition squad.
The games will be played at Purdue University on September 27, followed by a matchup at Dakota High School in Macomb, Michigan, three nights later. The locations were said to be chosen in part because of “strong ties with the Serbian community in Chicago, Northwest Indiana and Detroit.” (Um, then why is Partizan playing in the Southwest in October?) NBA PR reports that “As of 2005, over 110,000 Serbian immigrants resided in the US, predominately in the Midwest, along with thousands more citizens with Serbian descent.”
The “All-Stars” v. Partizan games will be held in conjunction with Humanitarian Organization Divac, the charity for refugees established by former Sacramento/Belgrade center Vlade Divac. (Vlade! Yes!)
Partizan president Predrag Danilovic offered a few words on the occasion of the announcement, stating that “We are very honored by this invitation to visit the United States and consider it as a tremendous achievement. We are the first Serbian basketball team to ever participate in such event. At the same time this is a big acknowledgement by the Euroleague and the NBA as well as unique historical moment for Serbian basketball. This is a confirmation that many NBA people are very familiar [with] and respect Serbian basketball tradition. The players, the coaching staff and Partizan’s basketball operations are all deserving of this acknowledgement.”
And plus, they’ll probably mop the floor with Pollard & Co.
Speaking of the former Sacramento King/Boston Celtic, Mr. Pollard offered his typical enthusiasm: “I’m very excited to be a part of these games. I have great respect for Vlade [Divac] and Euroleague basketball. My only wish is that Vlade was playing, too, so I wouldn’t be the oldest guy on the court!
“I have met many Serbian people, and am glad to be a part of yet another exciting event and to have a chance to meet more Serbs and learn some more Serbian words.”
*More* Serbian words? One can only imagine what Pollard’s Serbian vocabulary currently looks like…
For more information on these games, email inquiries to Partizan@Divac.com.