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From Spins To Dribbles, Gorjan Stojkovski Never Stops Learning New Basketball Tricks

The North Macedonian player was the life and soul of his team at the 2023 Regional West Balkans Basketball 3x3 Tournament in Tirana, Albania - and he still has energy for much more.
Two men wearing basketball jerseys smile while posing for the camera
Gorjan Stojkovski with Unified partner and friend Petar Petrovski

Gorjan Stojkovski wants to show a basketball trick.

Already full of anticipation, his North Macedonia teammates gather around to watch as the young athlete picks up the ball, places it on his index finger and gives it a light push.

On and on, helped by his other hand, the ball continues to spin perched on the finger as Stojkovski proudly surveys his mesmerised audience, a wide smile on his face.

“Two hours,” he says of his all-time record for keeping the ball spinning. “I started when I was younger, until now, and every day I do it better.”

Stojkovski started playing the sport when he was 11-years-old, and since then not a day goes by when he does not hold a basketball in his hands.

“The first contact with any sports was basketball,” he said. “My first try with basketball was at my house, in the yard, with a homemade hoop.”

The boy’s father welded the hoop from iron and set it up on the family plot for Stojkovski to practise with, together with his older brother. And while the hoop is no longer there, his son’s passion for the sport has only increased over the years.

Stojkovski went on to compete at two Special Olympics World Games, in Los Angeles in 2015 and Abu Dhabi in 2019. His favourite sports memory is scoring 12 points in a single game between North Macedonia and the Pilipinas during his second Games appearance.

Most recently, Stojkovski finished as the runner-up in the Regional West Balkans Basketball 3x3 Tournament, which was held in Tirana, Albania from 1 to 3 December 2023.

Stojkovski was the heart of the team, pumping his teammates up with his infectious enthusiasm while also showing impressive skills on the court.

The point he scored in the last 20 seconds of North Macedonia’s final against Bosnia and Herzegovina forced the game into overtime. Although the deciding points were scored against his team, this did not dampen the basketballer’s joy in the least.

“Basketball is inspiration for me, my life, and I feel fantastic when I play basketball. I meet a lot of friends and I travel a lot."
Gorjan Stojkovski, Special Olympics North Macedonia athlete

“I play all through the year and when the weather is bad, I play NBA on PlayStation.”

Stojkovski follows all the NBA games, his coaches said, and knows the names of all players.

When prompted to offer his Top 3 favourites, the names roll off his tongue without any hesitancy: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and fellow North Macedonian Vojdan Stojanovski.

And are there any tricks he saw his sports heroes do that he now wants to learn as well?

To answer, Stojkovski grabs the basketball once again. Dribbling the ball nimbly between his legs, he begins to shuffle right and left, as if preparing to shoot.

As he does, a wide smile lights up his face once again.

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