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Ivo Daneu
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Olympic Legends - Ivo Daneu

LONDON (Olympics) - Slovenia have made a lot of headlines in basketball the past several years with teams at EuroBaskets and FIBA World Championships.

Since breaking away from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, though, the country has not made it to an Olympic Games.

That doesn't mean Slovenia does not have an Olympic basketball hero, though.

Ivo Daneu is one that fits the bill.

A member of the FIBA Hall of Fame, Daneu, who was born in Maribor in 1937, was an exciting guard on the Yugoslavian teams that competed at the Olympics when they were held in Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964) and Mexico City (1968).

In his last Olympic experience, Daneu and Yugoslavia won the silver medal.

There was a lot of attention on him because, the year before, at the FIBA World Championship in Uruguay, Daneu had been the MVP after the country's runners-up finish.

He earned the nicknamed ‘El Grande Daneu’.

Two years after the Mexico City Games, Daneu and Yugoslavia won gold at the FIBA World Championship and that was extra special for Daneu because the tournament was staged in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Daneu, who had moved to Ljubljana as a boy and played basketball there for Olimpija, had the No. 13 jersey that he wore retired by the club.

When he played basketball, the times were very, very different.

The game was not professional and Daneu had to have a job outside of the game.

"The fact that I became world champion at home in Ljubljana just before I ended my basketball career was in one way a very lucky thing," Daneu said to FIBA.com.

"I was thinking of retiring from the sport two years before, because I started going to work in 1960 and it was hard combining it all.

"We were not professional basketball players at that time.

"We received very little money back then.

"I remember getting the first real money in 1968, when Vinko Jelovac joined Olimpija."

In America right now, a labor dispute has led to an NBA lockout.

Owners and players cannot decide how to share the vast sums of money the game generates.

The entire pre-season schedule, and all of the games scheduled for November, have been cancelled.

"We didn't think about the money when we played basketball," Daneu once said.

"We were happy with what we got, if we even got anything.

"I remember getting a bag for sports equipment for the first championship we won with Olimpija.

"For the second championship we got cloth for a suit.

"We had to pay for the tailor ourselves.

"The real money came to Olimpija in 1968, but even that was not enough to live on."