Big Game, Small World
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S E V E N : Saravejo Airport
Imagine that you’re a teenager with great basketball promise. You and a dozen or so of your countrymen, some of whom share your ethnic background and some of whom don’t, are trained so formidably that you beat all comers, including the mighty United States, to win a world junior championship. Then imagine that an ethnic war intervenes, and you are suddenly forced to regard your friends as enemies.

PHOTO BY: BOB MARTINCrossing the Adriatic from Bologna, I stumbled upon Svetislav Pesic, the coach of that 1987 Yugoslav Junior National Team, in the passport line at Sarajevo Airport. Together we had a chance to revisit that sobering story. Here coach Pesic broods on a sideline.

To view an Emmy-nominated documentary short that recounts the bleak events sketched out here, directed and shot by Hoop Dreams filmmakers Steve James and Peter Gilbert and narrated by the author, click here. For an optimistic postscript to the story of the Boys of Bormio, click here.

EIGHT: BOSNIA

You can purchase Big Game, Small World from the following on-line retailers:

In the U.S. or Canada:

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In Spain:

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In Switzerland:

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In Australia:

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