There are no words to describe the feeling of deep honor, gratitude, but also pride that I felt when the Embassy of France informed me about this award.
This recognition certainly reflects the ramifications of Serbian-French relations, and I am convinced that the centuries-old friendship and closeness of our two peoples will continue to develop further in the future.
As you may know, I owe a great debt of gratitude to the French Federation of Basketball and President Suiat. In Paris, the city of light and my favorite city, I began my recovery after a traffic accident. I have to make a joke – after the accident, for the first time in Paris I got up on both feet and ran, which is not so bad. Of course, without the support of the Basketball Federation of Serbia and their cooperation with our colleagues from France, my return to the floor and professional return to basketball would definitely not have been possible. There is something incredible in the Belgrade-Paris axis. I am convinced that it is precisely the trait we share, which the Serbs call stubbornness and the French call dêpit, that inspired me to decide for myself how and when my basketball journey will end.
I am proud that together during the filming of the documentary film “Leap”, with the enormous help of the production company Cinnesport, we managed to discover a piece of forgotten history and that now, in Kalemegdan Park, stands a monument to the founders of Serbian basketball, among whom is Henry Hell, the French coach. Few nations can boast such a deep common history as Serbia and France. It is our duty to collectively remind ourselves of our ties, because without an essential knowledge of history, there is no bright future.
Due to time constraints, I will limit the messages of gratitude to our hosts today, and I am sure that my husband, family and friends know that without them nothing would be possible.
I view today’s decoration, which was awarded to me by decree of the French president, also idealistically. Codes of chivalry, sometimes forgotten in a sea of superficiality, have more value today than ever. As we face world crises, it is precisely solidarity, compassion and friendship that become more and more important. And while the world is being tested, while we ourselves are fighting against our personal challenges, we realize that only together can we overcome all obstacles.