Marko Pesic Interview, Part 1
The Off-season is in fulll swing. The championship celebrations are now finally behind the Bavarians and the new tasks in the BBL and EuroLeague lie ahead. Time for a little pause, a look back and basic thoughts between squad planning and holidays in an interview with FCBB managing director Marko Pesic.
Marko, during one game you chew 20 pieces of gum and drink a lot of water, even if you're not thirsty - all for reassurance. How many packs and how many liters did you go through this summer in the decisive series with Alba Berlin?
Marko Pesic: Four to five half-liter bottles for sure, I didn't count the chewing gum. When I started my job here, Uli Hoeness asked me why I wasn't sitting on the bench. I said, "I can do it, but I'll be in the way more than I'll help." No, I'm just too restless.
Double in 2018, Championship in 2019 - is the FCBB the new force in German basketball?
Probably this is a bad answer but I don't care that much. I'm interested in what we're going to do. We have the development in our hands. We have opened all the doors that we can open ourselves. Are we the new great force in German basketball? Currently yes. Will we stay it? That is our goal, our obligation. We have a very young team behind the scenes that is building this department so that it can be successful in the long term. Success must not be defined solely by the result on the court.
The footballers have been champions seven times in a row. Questions like "how" are actually a nuisance: Is that also true of basketball?
No, we are part of this big club and must not be annoyed. We also have our standards, and they are the highest. You just have to never forget that we don't have as long a history as our footballers. We develop and we develop quickly. We can learn an incredible amount from our footballers, in all aspects. I always wonder when people don't register what an enormous mental achievement it is to be the hunted player in every game and still be at the top in the end.
"You can't guarantee the playoffs."
A year without a title would be a bad year for footballers. Is it the same in basketball?
The crucial point is that you don't question the whole development when you don't win a title. I assume that we will win titles every year - I have been a competitor since my childhood, I have to think so. But of course there are never any guarantees.
Uli Hoeness wants to qualify for the top 8 in the Euroleague.
I agree in principle with our President that we must aim for that. But in operational terms this is a mammoth task. My vision is that we will be the basketball capital of Europe in the foreseeable future. The club has every opportunity as we have a lot to offer in terms of sport, and the best framework conditions. Munich is a wonderful city, in the heart of Europe. A basketball culture is developing here, the international scene is already registering this, and word of it will continue to spread. Before the third final, we had more than 20,000 ticket enquiries. The thrilling victories against Fenerbahce Istanbul and FC Barcelona were an incredible advertisement and I am sure that we will become a top European team.
So, playoffs next season?
I don't know if that will have to be next year. You can't guarantee that if you take a look at the spectacular transfers that have already taken place in the EuroLeague so far. But what I can guarantee is that we in the club will get the most out of it. And if it takes a year or two longer, that's okay. It simply has to be sustainable. Jordi Bertomeu, the head of the Euroleague, recently said that the other clubs should look to Munich because they are working so exemplarily on their structure. For me, such a statement is worth as much as a title.
In 2021 the new hall will come - will you have to be an international heavyweight by then at the latest?
It's our job that people accept basketball even more and that we live up to the expectations that we ourselves have created. But the Audi Dome will remain our living room, where we always like to play. We won't give it up for the next ten years. We then go to the SAP Garden for the big games. This will be our ballroom.
Do the players and their advisors really understand that they are not earning millions in salaries even though FC Bayern invests large sums in football?
They have to. In the beginning it was difficult, but now we know how we work and with what means. Our former players are worth their weight in gold. Because they are our best ambassadors. A Malcolm Delaney or Tyrese Rice come around in the basketball world and talk about their experiences in Munich. That helps us a lot. The image you get of FC Bayern Basketball is getting stronger and stronger.
What can FC Bayern Basketball do to to bring in the best players?
It's no coincidence that every newcomer feels at home here within a very short time. Last season Derrick Williams came from the NBA, from another world, and after ten days our veteran, Alex King said to me: "Wow, he feels like he's been here for years!" Now we actually won Greg Monroe, among others, for us, who surely noticed Derrick's way. Talking about family in sports is often an empty phrase. But we've all been involved in this project since it was launched a good eight years ago - and that's something that's spreading to the floor. Our mentality is that an Alba Berlin not only plays against five players here, but against all of us. Of course, players leave us for various reasons, like now after three years Devin Booker, but everyone has at least a lump in their throat when they go.