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Pero Antic talks Rising Stars Challenge, decision to come to the NBA's Robby Kalland recently sat down with Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antic to discuss a number of topics including being selected for the Rising Stars Challenge and his decision to pass on more lucrative contract offers to come to the NBA.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Pero Antic recently sat down with with writer Robby Kalland to talk about a number of topics including being selected for the Rising Stars Challenge and his decision to turn down more lucrative offers to come to the NBA. The entire interview is a must read so be sure to click through.

During the interview, Antic reveals that he had an opportunity to play for the Orlando Magic in 2009 but elected to sign a more lucrative deal in Russia. However, the second time around, Antic turned down more lucrative deals overseas to join the Atlanta Hawks thanks to a call from head coach Mike Budenholzer:

What made this the right time and opportunity to come to the NBA?

Yeah [I had accomplished everything in Europe] and the coach. Coach Bud was the main reason. When a coach calls you, you cannot say no. He told me what he expected from me and that I would be good in the system, and you just want to die for that kind of coach. He's got a nice group of guys that fight and play without ego who compete, and I had to come, you know. It was the opposite this year. I didn't want to make that mistake, I refused all the offers from Europe, much bigger, but it's not always about the money. I want to do something for my country, and the NBA, to be honest, didn't know nothing about Macedonia. Now everybody knows. They can see what kind of warm-hearted people there are on the court and from the fans when they come.

Antic goes on to talk about the support he has gotten from his home country of Macedonia and how he has improved his play since being thrust into the starting center's role with Al Horford lost to injury. He will be traveling to New Orleans even though he won't be participating in the Rising Stars Challenge due to his ankle injury and is looking forward to participating in the festivities.