2017 Class of FIBA Hall of Fame: Dusan Ivkovic
MIES (FIBA Hall of Fame) - Serbia's Dusan Ivkovic, who has enjoyed an illustrious coaching career, is being honored with induction to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.
The master tactician, who over the course of his career has enjoyed tremendous success and fame both at national team and club levels, joins former players Shaquille O'Neal (United States), Toni Kukoc (Croatia), Mickey Berkowitz (Israel), Pero Cameron (New Zealand), Razija Mujanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Valdis Valters (Latvia) in being enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Joining them is the Dream Team, arguably the greatest international team of all time. They were selected from a list of more than 150 candidates.
Born in Belgrade in 1943, basketball became Ivkovic's passion like so many others in the region and he played for his hometown club of Radnicki from 1958-68.
However, it was a switch to the sidelines and coaching that led to him to huge success and fame.
He worked at Partizan (1978-1980), Aris (1980-1982), Radnicki (1982-1984) and Sibenka (1984-1987) before taking the helm of Yugoslavia in 1987.
Ivkovic assured himself of legendary status with two achievements. In 1990, he was at the helm of a talented side that travelled to Argentina to play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup and was crowned world champions.
With a roster that had famous players like Drazen Petrovic, Vlade Divac, Zarko Paspalj, Toni Kukoc, Zoran Savic, Jure Zdovc and Velimir Perasovic, Yugoslavia won seven of their eight games. On their way to the top step of the podium, Ivkovic's team beat the United States in the Semi-Finals and then overcame the Soviet Union in the Final.
Five years later, Yugoslavia - which had been banned from international competition because of problems in the region - returned to action at the FIBA EuroBasket in 1995. Ivkovic steered the country to nine wins in as many games and the title of European champions.
Not only did that Yugoslavia team win against hosts Greece in the Semi-Finals, 60-52, but they also beat a legendary Lithuania team that had Arvydas Sabonis, Sarunas Marciulionis and Rimas Kurtinaitis in the championship game.
That triumph marked the end of Ivkovic's first run as national team head coach.
He went on to shift his focus to coaching club basketball, leading giants like Olympiacos, AEK and CSKA Moscow to countless wins, numerous titles and honors.
He next returned to national team basketball in 2008, with a newly independent Serbia in dire need of experience and leadership.
Ivkovic, calling on Serbia's promising but untested new generation - players like Milos Teodosic and Nemanja Bjelica - helped instill a fighting, unyielding spirit into a young group of players and made them believe they could move mountains.
The veteran coach steered the team through a successful qualification for FIBA EuroBasket 2009. Then in the Final Round in Poland, Ivkovic's Serbia shocked reigning world champions Spain in their very first game and went on to reach the title game. The Spaniards beat them in the second meeting, but that wasn't the last of Ivkovic or his team.
The following year, the play caller pulled all the right strings as the national team gained partial revenge against Spain by beating them in a thrilling Quarter-Final to end their title defense at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Istanbul.
Ivkovic will forever have the respect of his peers not just in Europe but around world. He helped take Yugoslavian and Serbian basketball to new heights so that respect is well earned.
|Category of Inductee||Coach|
|Date of birth||October 29, 1943|
|Place of birth||Belgrade, Serbia|
As Federal Selector
|National team highlights||
Yugoslavia (1983-1991) and FR Yugoslavia (1995-2000)
Head Coach (1983-1995)
Federal Selector (1996-2000)
The 2017 Class of the FIBA Hall of Fame will be inducted during a special ceremony at the House of Basketball - the headquarters of basketball's world governing body on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland - on Saturday September 30.