John Roberson, Bosnian from Kansas

“How did I end up playing for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team?” exclaimed John Roberson. “Well, the coach picked me up and asked if I wanted to be Bosnian. Since then, the rest is history. The Kansas City native didn’t think well: 72 hours after making these remarks, he showered Slovenia with a rain of long-range shots (7/13 from three points), ending the top scorer title in the biggest victory ever recorded. By Bosnian basketball (97-93 against Slovenia, European champion). “It’s strange seeing him in the Bosnia and Herzegovina shirt,” smiles Mustafa Vall, his former teammate at Schalun. “I constantly ask him what he is doing there and he laughs every time.”

On Sunday, John Roberson stole the show from Luka Doncic (Image: FIBA)

Because yes, actually, John Roberson is one of those naturalized people who have nothing to do with the country he adopted it. In the eleven years of his career, he played in Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Hungary, France, Russia, Australia, Turkey and Spain. But not in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Except that his name didn’t come out of thin air in the lap of the dragon… The coach who quit last June, Vedran Bosnich coached John Roberson for three years at Södertälje (from 2013 to 2015), to eventually claim three Swedish championship titles. While Bosnia and Herzegovina has been developing without a naturalized player since Alex Renfroe retired at the end of EuroBasket 2015, the current Mons-Hainaut technician simply thought of his former leader when his “recruit” permit was granted.

“I knew the history of basketball in Bosnia”

“It’s a real honor to have Vedran do me by setting his sights on me,” Roberson reacts. “I knew the history of basketball in Bosnia and knew how excited the people were there. For two years, playing for them was a blessing.” Especially since, in addition to the insignificant possibility in the transfer market of owning a European passport, this allows him to touch normally inaccessible peaks. While he certainly has the talent, the 2017 French champions did not play in the Euroleague, having to win five campaigns in the European Basketball Association (C4) Cup and one year in the European Cup, with Asvel, in 2017/18. A clip of Villeurbannais surely constitutes a missed turning point in his career: then on a tricolor basketball deck with Elan Chalon, he succumbed to the whistles of Rhone but was ultimately too far from getting a team boost at the Astroballe. Thus, instead of a large club, the Bosnian-American was forced to emigrate to the depths of Siberia and later to Australia.

Josef Nurkic and the Bosnians adopt Roberson (Photo: FIBA)

Three years later, John Roberson shines in a thousand light on the largest European stage. After planting 18 units against Hungary, he stopped Dennis Schroeder (13 points, 4 assists) before stealing the show from Luka Doncic, a former Dallas high school student. “It’s an incredible experience,” he breathes. “Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined playing EuroBasket. It is great to face players I usually watch on TV, against whom I have never measured myself before. It is also an opportunity that I know how to do on the field.” Indirectly about the ignorance of the continental giant regarding his profile. The Slovenian interlocutor only exploded very little, leaving him maximum space for drawing from afar. “Personally, I’m not surprised by his performance,” says Mustapha Fall, who at least shouldn’t fall for his strengths on Tuesday. “They have the big four, with a need for offensive leaders and four players to put points. However, Jon is really a weapon in terms of shooting.”

Before the Blues reunion, praise Nurkic

Indeed, along with Dznan Musa, Miralem Halilovic and Yosef Nurkic, John Roberson is one of the driving forces of the team that fascinates European basketball with the quality and consistency of its game. “We have a great group,” he says. “There’s great chemistry between us, great guys. It’s fun to play together! We knew we could make a noise in this Euro because it’s hard to face us. Nobody in this group respected us, we saw people were already wiped out, and we used that as motivation.” Once again, in the end, for players with a sense of something higher than a simple sporting mission, they came back from hell from disjointed preparations and without a vision for the future. Even if the new Bosnian doesn’t follow up on the adventures of his choice this summer… “I don’t know anything about what happened, I can’t understand the local press anyway,” he laughs. While he told an American journalist last week that he knew nothing of Europe before he got there in 2011, “because we don’t learn anything about European geography in school,” future player de Manisa appears to have blended in quite humanly with his new compatriot. Team. When we named him after his new teammate, Josef Nurkic broke into a wide grin. “Johnny! Johnny is a great guy. He became our guy. The way he fits in with us is incredible. It’s rare to see such a cultural adaptation in a naturalized player. And even when he doesn’t understand what we’re saying, he just goes with the flow. Another thing.And then, since he could plant a distant gang or two from time to time…

With Elan Chalon in 2017, John Roberson experienced one of the peaks of his career (Photo: Charlotte Jeffrey)

Ten days after his full participation in the Bosnian surprise against the Blues in the 2023 World Cup qualifiers, John Roberson will once again stand on the tricolor road on Tuesday afternoon, with a strong intention to re-criminalize. “It will be a different match,” warns the one who still achieves 100% free throw success in his international career (34/34). The French team now knows what we can do. “He also had the opportunity to bring back the good memories from his years in the LNB…” It was clearly the best moment in Chalon, with our title being the champion. I have many photos that came back to me from my French seasons, the photo I spent in Strasbourg was also interesting. It is special to be facing France because I know I have a lot of French friends who will be watching me. Among them, one of them will be on the field, his 218 centimeters determined to make his life impossible, just as the 1-5 axle ignited their Pro A five years ago. “I have very good memories of John,” slipped Mustafa Fall. “When you win it always creates bond but he is a really good guy. We annoy each other a little bit: during the match in Bosnia he texted me to ask what was wrong with me but first of all to tell me: ‘Please don’t come.’ I’m glad he succeeded in The Euros, and I just hope it doesn’t go well for him tomorrow. That’s fine, the Bosnian scorer is ready for the challenge. “Mustafa was upset about not being in Sarajevo. We meet at the hotel and he repeats that he wants to take revenge on him. The appointment is set at 2: 30 pm.

in Cologne,


September 6, 2022 at 7:00 am

“How did I end up playing for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team?” exclaimed John Roberson. “Well, the coach picked me up and asked if I wanted to be Bosnian. Since then, the rest is history. “The Kansas City native didn’t believe very well by saying: 72 hours after these remarks were made, I…

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