Miroslav Raduljica, Casualty of Cultural Differences?

Miroslav Raduljica

Serbian big man Miroslav Raduljica (213 cm) has been let go by the Shandong Flaming Bulls (China-CBA) after playing 14 games for the Chinese club. In the weeks leading up to his release, there have been rumors that Bulls head coach Gong XiaoBin was expressing that he was unhappy with Raduljica’s “work ethic” during practices and that he had a different approach towards the game compared to the some of the American imports. Miroslav Raduljica, who is a veteran of international play, has also competed as a member of the Serbian national team in 2009-10, 2012 and again in 2014. He was a workhorse for his team during 2014 FIBA World Cup, where his team bagged the silver medal. Miroslav Raduljica was one of the higher profile European players to crossover into a Chinese basketball team and he did make a splash. In 14 games played for the Bulls during the 2014/15 season, Raduljica averaged 18.3 ppg and 9.1 rpg, just a rebound shy of a double-double clip.

What Miroslav Raduljica lacks in overall athleticism, he more than makes up with grit and hustle. He has been a long-time underrated, blue-collar player who is willing to grind it out in the paint to do what needs to get done for his team. His background in European hoops is more team-oriented and less focused on flashy individual plays that some American imports are known for in the Chinese league.

The Asian mindset when it comes to the game of basketball is very different compared to that of the Europeans. In most Asian leagues, the sport is more a channel of entertainment, but in European leagues, the game is treated as a battleground where pride and deep-running emotions are at stake. It is this divide which could have been the root of the rift between XiaoBin and Raduljica. While it is not a complete certainty, the distinct differences in paradigm was a potential contributing factor.

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