We Will Be The World Champions


“We Will Be The World Champions” is a story about four pioneers who fathered the Yugoslav school of basketball, and whose merit is the development of this sport in Europe. The central event is the crucial game at World Cup 1970 between Yugoslavia and the United States. From the point of view of the main character, Nebojša Popović, we follow the growth and life path of enthusiasts, whose professional work, ideas and efforts made their major dream come true, the first gold medal for Yugoslavia in world championships. The movie is set on two different time levels: in present time and in reminiscence of Nebojša Popović. Their path started as far back as the World War II, and continued developing through a communist state, in which only in basketball could they find a place relatively free from politics.

The main character, Nebojša Popović, now in his forties, comes to Ljubljana to attend the final triumph of faith he had nurtured for twenty five years, ever since basketball was played in army boots or with no boots at all. We follow simultaneously the players trying to focus before tonight's match. The best player of Yugoslavia, the legendary Radivoje Korać, was killed a year ago, and the main player and the captain, Ivo Daneu, is hurt, so the burden of the game will fall on the young players to carry, who later will become aces of international basketball.

The present time is overwhelmed with enormous expectations that the whole nation has got, political management included. May 23rd, 1970 is a day when the Yugoslavian national team finally won its first gold medal at World Cup in Ljubljana, after a string of silver decorations. That victory, won over the American team, is much more than just a sports victory. Yugoslavia triumphs, ecstatically unified and patriotic. The whole country is in state of trance. President Tito is pleased. History certainly gives this story a bittersweet taste of pointlessness.