The Naismith Trophy, the esteemed prize of international basketball, embarked on a captivating journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Montenegro, captivating fans ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The Trophy Tour, encompassing all the nations participating in the 32-team tournament, graced the remarkable locales of Podgorica, Rijeka Crnojevica, Pavlova Strana, and more, igniting anticipation for the World Cup, commencing on August 25.
The tour commenced in Rijeka Crnojevica, a town steeped in history along the Rijeka Crnojevica river, nestled near the picturesque coast of Skadar lake, boasting a legacy dating back to the 15th century.
Just 3.5 kilometers eastward lies Pavlova Strana, renowned as the most sought-after vantage point of Lake Skadar National Park and the magnificent 12.3km-long Rijeka Crnojevica River. Visitors flock to this scenic spot to soak in the awe-inspiring panorama.
A snapshot of the trophy was also captured at the Rijeka Crnojevica bridge, also referred to as Danilo’s Bridge, an iconic historical monument and a prominent attraction within the Cetinje municipality, tracing its origins back to 1853. This bridge traverses the Crnojević River and holds significant historical value.
The Naismith Trophy found its way to the Gospa Od Skrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks), an artificial island with a captivating legend. Local seamen, bound by an ancient oath, meticulously built this island over centuries after discovering the Madonna and Child icon on a rock in the sea in 1452. As they returned from their voyages, they added rocks to the bay, gradually emerging an islet from the depths.
Another noteworthy stop on the trophy’s itinerary was the town of Sveti Stefan, nestled on the enchanting Adriatic coast of Montenegro, a mere hour’s drive from Rijeka Crnojevica. This coastal gem delighted fans who gathered around the Naismith Trophy, cherishing the moment.
Cetinje, the former royal capital of Montenegro, awaited the trophy’s arrival, just 40 minutes away by car to the west of Podgorica. It now serves as the official residence of the Montenegrin president, exuding historical significance and grandeur.
The Sahat Kula (clock tower), an enduring Ottoman landmark that withstood the bombing of Podgorica during World War II, provided a captivating backdrop for a photograph with the trophy. Additionally, the trophy graced the Partisan Soldier Memorial on Gorica Hill in Podgorica, a site of remembrance, as well as the Millennium Bridge, further showcasing the beauty of Montenegro’s landmarks.
At the BIG Fashion Mall in Podgorica, fans reveled in the opportunity to lay eyes upon the illustrious Naismith Trophy. The trophy also made an appearance at Njegosev Park, where a Mini Basketball Game took place on the Goran Poli Bojanic Outdoor Court, filling the air with youthful enthusiasm and joy.
Nikola Peković, a Montenegrin basketball legend and president of the basketball federation, shared a moment with the trophy, symbolizing the rich basketball heritage of Montenegro.
Leading the Montenegro team at the World Cup, Coach Boško Radović added to the excitement surrounding this esteemed competition.