History / History of basketball

Period from 1945 – 1959

It was even in 1945 that our basketball players had their first international appearances. The men’s and women’s selected teams representing Belgrade played against their counterparts from the city of Sofia. The Basketball Championship of the Republics was organized in Subotica and the title was won by the team of the Yugoslav Army.

A lot of work was done, primarily at the promotion and expansion of basketball. The tournament of the cities was staged in Rijeka. It was in 1947 European Championship in Prague that our national team for the first time participated in an European basketball championship.

Crvena Zvezda dominated the national championships in both men’s and women’s competitions. Nebojsa Popovic, as a coach, won even 17 national titles.

Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia was founded by the end of 1948. The magazine “Kosarka” (Basketball) was launched for the first time. After the qualifying tournament in Nice, we participated at the 1st World Championship in Buenos Aires in 1950.

Danilo Knezevic, a long-time President of KSJ (Kosarkaski savez Jugoslavije – Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia) opened the 1954 European Championship for Women at Belgrade’s Tasmajdan. The organizers proved that we were capable of organizing the major basketball events at the top level.

Aleksandar Nikolic took over the position of the national team head coach from Nebojsa Popovic and started to create a team for high achievements. The Future world-class stars were born by the end of 1950s, above all Radivoj Korac, and then Nemanja Djuric, Slobodan Gordic, Ivo Daneu, Josip Djerdja… We won the 1959 Mediterranean Games in Beirut and were placed sixth in the final standings of the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

It was the time for Radomir Saper and Borislav Stankovic to take an active part in the work of the Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia.

Vilmos Loci (Partizan, Proleter) was a first player registered to have one hundred games played in the national team jersey. Demsar, Gec, Sokolovic, Popovic, Roklicer, Kalember and Marjanovic were gaining experience with the national team and passing it over to their clubs’ teammates … Basketball moved forward strongly in all of its segments and attained popularity all across the territory of Yugoslavia.

1947 – European Championship in Prague

1948 – Men’s and Women’s National Team at the Balkan Championship

1950 – World Championship in Argentina

1959 – First Gold Medal – Mediterranean Games in Beirut

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