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FIBA Hall of Fame

For those who made the game

Hall of Famers

Nebojša Popovic (Serbia)
Born on February 08, 1923, in Irig, Vojvodina, Serbia.
Passed away on October 20, 2001, at the age of 78.

Enshrined as a contributor in the FIBA Hall of Fame on March 01, 2007.


  • His family moved to Rijeka (Croatia) when he was a child and Popovic started his sports career as a water polo goalkeeper in Sušak
  • He fell in love with basketball when he saw legendary water polo player Božo Grkinic shooting some basketballs
  • Co-Founded Red Star Belgrade Basketball Club (number 1 membership card): 1945
  • Was both a player and the first head coach in the history of Red Star Belgrade: 1945-1951. Head coach of Red Star: 1952-1955. Between 1946 and 1955, Popovic was 10 consecutive times Champion of the Yugoslav League
  • Head coach of Red Star’s Women Team: 1946-1952. 7 consecutive times Champion of the Yugoslav Women’s League
  • Player of Gallatarese (Italy) during four months: December 1951-March 1952
  • 39 appearances with the Yugoslavian National Team as a player (1946-1952): participated in the Buenos Aires 1950 World Championship, in the 1947 European Championship in Prague and in 3 Balkan Championships (1946 in Bucarest, 1947 in Tirana and 1948 in Sofia)
  • Head coach of the Yugoslavian National Team in the 1953 European Championship in Moscow and in the Rio de Janeiro 1954 World Championship
  • Secretary General of the Yugoslavian Olympic Committee
  • Technical commissioner of FIBA during 35 years
  • Popovic was a true precursor: he was the first one who brought foreign coaches to Yugoslavia and to develop a broad contact with the U.S. basketball
  • Executive of JRT, the Yugoslav national TV channel: covered four Olympic Games with JRT and, in addition, was the correspondent for “La Gazzetta dello Sport” for over four decades
  • President of the Commission for International Competitions of FIBA
  • President of the Basketball Federation of Belgrade
  • President of the Serbian Basketball Federation: 1982-1983
  • President of the Yugoslavian Basketball Federation: 1985-1987 

Distinctions & Recognitions

  • FIBA Order of Merit in 1997
  • Prize “Sports & Universality”, awarded by the IOC