As a follow-up to my debut article from Thursday, I figured I’d continue the trend and talk some more about Macedonia and the Macedonian support for the first Macedonian representative in the NBA, Pero Antic.
Antic has been a shot in the arm for the Hawks offense, and it’s been a surprise, simply because very few really thought it could happen. Many knew what he was capable of but no one knew he would have his best month in the NBA in January. With Pero just recently earning a starting role and performing well in that starting role, the attention of the NBA and Macedonians everywhere has turned up on him.
One Macedonian that has become very proud of Pero Antic is Meto Koloski. I had the opportunity recently to interview Mr. Koloski through email. Here are the questions I asked and the answers he gave:
Dalton: What is it that you do? What are you trying to accomplish in Washington?
Koloski: I am the President of the United Macedonian Diaspora, a leading organization for Macedonians worldwide. Based in Washington, D.C., with offices in Toronto, Melbourne, and representatives throughout the world, UMD has a big, multi-faceted mission, from promoting Macedonian art, culture and music to providing scholarships and leadership training to Macedonians all over the world, to funding health clinics, senior homes and orphanages in Macedonia.
We want to make sure the public is aware about Macedonia and its rich heritage, culture, and people.
As you can see by his answer on what he does, he is one of the leading supporters of Macedonians that now call the United States of America their home. Antic is really becoming the staple for the Republic of Macedonia, and I’m sure there are more than a few kids in Macedonia loving their Antic jerseys right now.
Dalton: How do you feel about Pero Antic representing the whole country of Macedonia and what does it mean for the future?
Koloski: Excited, hopeful, inspired, and optimistic. Being the first Macedonian national in the NBA, Pero Antic is an excellent ambassador for Macedonia and represents what Macedonia has to offer to the world. Thanks to Pero, Americans and the world can see how driven Macedonians are.
Mr. Koloski was obviously really excited about Pero getting a rise in playing time and his playing performance really picking up. He also gives thanks to Pero for showing the world that Macedonians are full of energy and drive to perform to their best every day or at any task that they wish to accomplish.
Dalton: How does it feel to see the overwhelming support of Macedonians in just about every city that Pero visits with the Hawks?
Koloski: I have not seen this much unity among Macedonian-Americans since protests before the White House, State Department, and the United Nations in 2001. It is refreshing and motivating to see our people go out in numbers to support one of our own. Although, many of us are born in the U.S., and are not Macedonian citizens, we still hold some kind of affinity to the homeland of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors, whether that is through the food, music, and now sports, thanks to Pero Antic. Seeing the Macedonian flags and symbols flying at almost every game Pero has played in, gives me so much pride. In some countries in the world, Macedonians have no human rights, but in the U.S., we are proud to be Americans of Macedonian heritage.
Dalton: Do you think Pero playing in the NBA will open up doors for Macedonian athletes making a name for themselves in the United States?
Koloski: Without a doubt, there are so many talented athletes in Macedonia, in basketball, soccer, handball, swimming, among other sports. Macedonia is a country of 2.1 million, the size of Vermont, but has given birth to some of the world’s greatest, like Mother Theresa and Alexander the Great. Hope through sports, Macedonia can be even more recognized.
The last thing I wanted to ask Mr. Koloski was about was if Pero playing in the NBA opened up doors for more Macedonians born athletes to make a name for themselves in the US. Even though handball isn’t very popular in the US, there are talented handball players in Macedonia that should be recognized for what they do and how they perform. Swimmers, and footballers are also among Macedonian talent that should be recognized because someday they can be in Pero’s place as a star in an US sanctioned professional sport.
Mr. Meto Koloski is also the admin of a facebook fan club page for Pero Antic. Go and give it a like I’m sure he can use the support the name of it is Pero Antic NBA. You can also go give him a follow on twitter @MetodijaKolosk if you’re a little uneducated on Macedonia and what they go through daily he’s the man to follow.