Legendary Croatia Olympian Water Polo Player Damir Burić Switches to Basketball

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Srecko Niketic/PIXSELL
Srecko Niketic/PIXSELL

It was a historic Saturday for Pula sports and Stoja basketball, as the famous Pula water polo player Damir Burić joined them on the Stoja primary school court.

Burić was a significant part of Pula water polo history back when the city was without a pool. He won everything possible with the Croatia national team – Olympic, world, and European gold, while the same goes for the club level, as there is no trophy he did not win, reports Jutarnji List.

Here is a breakdown

Olympic games

– Gold (London 2012)

– silver (Rio de Janeiro 2016)

World Championships

– Gold (Melbourne 2007)

– silver (Kazan 2015)

– bronze (Rome 2009 and Shanghai 2011)

European Championships

– gold (Zagreb 2010)

– silver (Kranj 2003)

Champions League

– gold (Pro Recco 2010 and 2012)

Thus, Burić made his debut in the yellow and blue jersey in a significant victory against Rijeka – 119:66.

Buric participated in the victory with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and several attractive “water polo” assists, and he played for two quarters.

“Ha, ha, it turned out to be a much bigger story than I thought… It’s true, but I just started training,” said Damir Burić. Although the rhythm of training suggests it is more serious.

“Monday to Friday, once a day, 8 to 10 pm. Listen, after water polo, where you have two workouts a day for two and a half hours each, this is nothing, haha. In essence, I decided to train for myself, to clear my head and body. It would not be good to relax.”

His connection to basketball is not surprising.

“If we look purely at height, yes, I have some prerequisites.” Burić is 205 cm, after all. 

“For athletes, it’s hard to separate yourself from sports just like that. I’ve been playing basketball since high school. When I got serious about water polo, I couldn’t practice regularly anymore. But even then, when I had some free weeks, I’d play.”

Can he dunk?

“I could, but now I’m not even trying, haha. I’m taking care of my spine. I train with young guys, 16-18 years old, a few 25-26 year olds, one is 33, and I am 41. So be careful. I run, I wear out, but I still avoid some things. I mean, I can dunk it in, it’s not a big success, but I save myself.”

How does he shoot?

“Haha, I have to admit that when I was younger, I shot better. However, it’s good and getting better.”

He plays on the wing.

“Wing, center, sort of. I mean, it’s the Second League. After all, we don’t have a lot of tall players. Thank God it’s like that because I wouldn’t even bother if it was different.”

How did he decide to join his hometown club, Pula’s Stoja?

“In principle, I played all last summer, but not seriously training. The club president, Šime Vidulin, is a good friend of mine from school days, and he persuaded me to come to training. So I trained a little for myself because swimming and gym get a little boring when you’re always alone. And then I came about a month and a half ago. I have been with them constantly ever since.”

Stoja Basketball Club has certainly never had a more celebrated member! 

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