Meet Dušan Bulut, the Serbian star who's risen to the top of 3x3 basketball
Dušan Bulut honed his flashy streetball skills on the concrete courts of Novi Sad and is now anchoring the success of Red Bull Half Court worldwide.
Dušan Bulut grew up in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, with his love of basketball helping him and his friends cope with the realities of challenging times. Once he decided to focus on 3x3 streetball, the 35-year-old's ascent through the thrilling game has been remarkable.
He's helped his Serbian team win four World Cups and two European Championships, while his club team Novi Sad have captured four World Tour titles, with Bulut scooping MVP twice in both the World Cup and World Tour. His skills have earned him the nickname Mr. Bullutproof on the back of his signature Shammgod Nutmeg move.
Early hoops memories
It was love at first sight for Bulut and basketball, his pure passion for the game on the concrete courts of Novi Sad providing him countless hours of entertainment.
He recalls: "My earliest memory of basketball was around 1995, at a big tournament two months after I started practising. The whole city was playing and everybody had a team which had a name of an NBA club. My club was the Lakers and my father put the logo on my jersey. I slept with that jersey the night before my game."
The Jordan effect
Bulut grew up idolising NBA teams and stars like Michael Jordan, whose scintillating play for the Chicago Bulls and Team USA propelled kids onto courts around the world. Jordan might have been a big inspiration, but Bulut modelled his own game on players more like him.
"When I started playing basketball, I had a lot of idols and the biggest of them all was Michael Jordan, because of his winning mentality and everything that he represents in the game of basketball," he recalls. "His athletic ability was totally different than mine, as was his style of play, so I looked more to other players like Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury and Jason Williams, who played in my position and had that flashy, fun-to-watch style.
"That's the reason why I play this game today. It was concrete courts and buildings, a typical streetball environment. We needed to play attractive, flashy basketball, because somebody was always looking at you and that's how you went from one court to another."
Crucial street subculture
Bulut never went the college or NBA route to stardom, choosing instead to focus on the vibrant, cultural 3x3 scene, with his electric point guard play propelling him to several FIBA titles for club and country.
He explains: "Streetball isn't just playing basketball, it's street subculture that represents other things I'm passionate about, like art, music, brotherhood and fashion. They inspire my style and way of living. When I wake up in the morning, put my clothes on and walk down the street, the attitude – everything."
Red Bull Half Court
Red Bull Half Court, which transitioned from Red Bull Reign in 2020, is all about getting buckets and playing high-octane offence. Teams advance by winning games, but there's also a unique Red Bull twist to the game: the Own the Court bonus, which is awarded to the team in each group that's scored the most points cumulatively across the games.
"If you're new to the game and a young and upcoming basketball player, you can use the Red Bull Half Court platform to show what you've got with your unique skill set in an authentic streetball environment," Bulut explains.
Leaving a legacy
The 6ft 3in magician has already played his way into the hearts and minds of millions worldwide and, as he moves into his mid-late 30s, he's aware about what matters most.
"Money and fame comes and goes, but your legacy stays behind after you," he declares. "Organising events and camps, and rebuilding the courts in the local communities will stay long after my career finishes. It makes me feel very proud, very happy and satisfied."