"Gogi" going full speed!

At the end of 2023, after almost 30 years under the hoops and a decade and a half in the strongest basketball league in the world, the North American National Basketball Association (NBA), Goran Dragić has decided to hang up his sneakers.

Goran Dragić (born on 6 May 1986) is one of the greatest Slovenian basketball players and athletes of all time. The Ljubljana native and father of two is an exceptional personality who tries to think positively every day. The point guard made Slovenian sporting history by becoming the first Slovenian to play in an NBA All-Star Game (2018), he was also selected for the All-NBA Third Team in 2014, and as captain he led the Slovenian national team to the European champions title in Istanbul in 2017, being acclaimed the most valuable player of the tournament.

The Dragon, as the popular Gogi is called in the USA, has been hosting a basketball camp since 2014, and in 2020 he also established the charitable Goran Dragić Foundation, the purpose of which is to renovate basketball courts throughout Slovenia into smart courts and take care of socially or physically disadvantaged children and para-athletes.

The term legend is often misused in Slovenian sport. But Gogi is truly a legend. A legend with his feet firmly on the ground and his head and heart in the right place.

From a football to a basketball

Goran Dragić tried everything as a kid. From football to baseball. Eventually, and luckily for Slovenian and world basketball, he ended up playing this sport and sticking with it. Dragić's basketball journey started in the Ilirija Basketball Club. Although he was smaller and weaker than other players, he had the desire to improve, which is why he always played street basketball on the club's outdoor court after practice. His path took him from Ilirija to the Slovan Basketball Club, and at 18 he went international when he was signed by the Spanish club Murcia. Before going overseas in 2008 to start his NBA career, he played for the Olimpija Basketball Club of Ljubljana on loan.

“The Dragon” and his NBA career

In the NBA, the left-handed point guard played 15 stellar seasons between 2008 and 2023. In the USA, he wore the jerseys of the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks. Gogi attained his greatest accomplishment as a member of the Miami team, which in 2020 made it to the finals of the strongest basketball league in the world.

Also worth mentioning is the NBA Most Improved Player Award for the 2013/14 season, which Dragić received as a member of the Phoenix Suns and the fact that in 2018 as a member of the Miami Heat, he became the first Slovenian basketball player to be selected for the NBA All-Star Game.

Proud Dragon

Goran Dragić "earned" the nickname “The Dragon” because his teammates were not able to pronounce his surname. The nickname is perfect for Gogi, as he hails from Ljubljana, where a dragon is part of the coat of arms and is featured on the Dragon Bridge. He is very proud of his native city and country, which he also stressed in a documentary for the US television network FOX:

MY COUNTRY, MY CITY, MY NEIGHBOURHOOD AND MY PARENTS GAVE ME EVERYTHING AND MADE ME WHAT I HAVE BECOME.

Goran Dragić and his Ljubljana

What do Goran Dragić and Ljubljana have in common? A lot, actually. In addition to Ljubljana being Gogi's hometown, with which he maintains strong ties, their common denominator is also the dragon - Goran's nickname and symbol of the city of Ljubljana. The dynamic rhythm of city life, which is intertwined with the warmth of homeliness, could be equated with Goran Dragić's energy on the court and his warm heart when it comes to charity. Take a stroll around Ljubljana with Gogi and get to know what it is that ties the popular basketball player to his hometown.

More

Goran Dragić and his Ljubljana

Goran Dragić and his Ljubljana

What do Goran Dragić and Ljubljana have in common? A lot, actually. In addition to Ljubljana being Gogi's hometown, with which he maintains strong ties, their common denominator is also the dragon - Goran's nickname and symbol of the city of Ljubljana. The dynamic rhythm of city life, which is intertwined with the warmth of homeliness, could be equated with Goran Dragić's energy on the court and his warm heart when it comes to charity. Take a stroll around Ljubljana with Gogi and get to know what it is that ties the popular basketball player to his hometown.

More

Commitment to the national team

Throughout his career, Goran almost never missed an opportunity to play for the Slovenian national basketball team. He proudly played for Slovenia for 20 years, including 16 years for the senior team. He made his debut appearance in 2006 at the FIBA World Championship in Japan, when he was barely 20 years old. He played in the European Championship in 2009, when Slovenia won what was then a historic 4th place, and at the 2013 EuroBasket, when he was selected among the best five players of the tournament. After the great victory of Slovenia at the 2017 EuroBasket he became the first Slovenian player to earn the accolade of the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament. For all these years, he has been a major contributor to the national team, where his energy and experience have played a key role.

He leads the Slovenian national team in the two most important all-time lists. In terms of number of appearances, he is in the first place with 90 games played, and he also tops the all-time list of scorers with 1,095 points scored.

Slovenia is a sports country

Goran Dragić comes from a country which is among the most successful countries in the world in terms of medals from major competitions per capita. Athletes are ambassadors of Slovenia of sorts, and Slovenia has proven to be an excellent organiser of major competitions many times. Sport is rooted deeply in the people, as a lot of Slovenians do sports. So, it is not surprising that Slovenians even dedicated a national holiday to sport.

Explore

Dragić's charity has no borders

The highly regarded Gogi is not only a world-class athlete, but also a man with a big heart, which he proves with his charity projects as part of the Goran Dragić Foundation and the basketball camp in Laško.

The Goran Dragić Foundation was established in 2020 so that all the projects that have been running under the patronage of the popular Gogi since 2014 could be formalised and regulated by law. It is primarily in charge of organising the Goran Dragić basketball camp and renovating and constructing outdoor basketball courts under the #Podamdaigram brand, while also trying to implement projects to help children and youth from socially disadvantaged environments.

kosarkarsko igrisce

 

When renovating and developing smart courts, the Foundation looks to make sure that the locations are as equally distributed throughout the regions as possible. Some renovation or construction projects have already been finalised, and some are to be carried out in the near future.

Completed courts

  • Ljubljana: Tivoli (2019)
  • Maribor: Tabor (2021)
  • Novo Mesto: School Centre (2022)
  • Laško: Marija Gradec (2022)
  • Murska Sobota: Murska Sobota I Primary School (2023)

In 2024, the plan is to renovate the court outside the Campus Arena in Ptuj. Two courts are planned for 2025 – one in Nova Gorica, and one in Ilirska Bistrica.

dragicev gaj v laskem

 

Every year, Goran and his organisational team make sure that at least 15 of the children who attend his basketball camp come from socially disadvantaged environments. Making sure that the selection of these children is professional and independent is the Association of Friends of the Youth Ljubljana Moste-Polje through the Botrstvo v Sloveniji and Botrstvo v športu projects, while the costs of their participation are covered by the Foundation itself and by loyal sponsors and partners.

In addition, the Goran Dragić Foundation in 2023 purchased three professional, custom-made wheelchairs for the Slovenian Paraplegic Association, to be used by the national wheelchair basketball team.

Goran Dragić basketball camp in Laško

In 2024, the Goran Dragić basketball camp is celebrating a special anniversary, as it will be held for the tenth time, and for the fourth consecutive time in the beautiful setting of Laško, a basketball town on the Savinja River.

In the camp, 140 children and youths aged 9 to 15 learn about basketball and plenty of other fun and educational content for a week under the watchful eye of a 35-member team of organisers, coaches and educators.

lasko

Get to know the location of Gogi's basketball camp

Laško is a confluence of good things, where brewing and the beekeeping tradition intertwine, where therapeutic water springs bubble up to the surface and where your palates will be pampered by products of the Taste Laško trademark. Laško, which was a European Destination of Excellence in 2013 is friendly and accessible to everyone. Taking care of its environment, nature and tradition, it is considered one of the greenest destinations in Slovenia and is the bearer of the Slovenia Green Destination Platinum label. And this is the place where, since 2021, Goran Dragić has been passing his knowledge and positive energy onto young basketball players at the basketball camp.

Visit Laško

Active in green Slovenia

Slovenia provides you with various opportunities to spend your free time actively. What Slovenians like the most is climbing a slope, cycling, or running. Meanwhile, its clear waters beckon you to enjoy water sports. Adrenaline junkies will also get a dose of what they need.

Discover Dragić's Slovenia

Meet the country of champions of Dragić's stature. Discover the beauty of nature and charming cities. Get to know the most beautiful treasures of Slovenia and taste the best what our green country has to offer. Perhaps you will be also attracted by the venues for world-class sporting events. 

Food and wine

Love is experienced through the stomach.

Food and wine

More

Ljubljana & Central Slovenia

Liveliness of the capital and nature hikes – to primeval forests.

Ljubljana & Central Slovenia

Ljubljana & Central Slovenia

More

Top 10 sights

Must-see attractions in green Slovenia!

Top 10 sights

More

Active holidays

Discover the world of active outdoor adventures in Slovenia.

Active holidays

More

Largest sporting events in Slovenia and the world in 2024

Get ready to cheer on your favourites and come to the idyllic environment of Slovenia’s sports venues.

Largest sporting events in Slovenia and the world in 2024

More

Ljubljana

Ljubljana. Vibrant. Lively. A city that combines the charm of a small capital and the confidence of big European cities.

Ljubljana

Ljubljana

More

Stories from Slovenia

Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive a green piece of Slovenia in your inbox, and learn about holidays, seasonal offers, upcoming events and travel options.

Share with friends