Maybe you remember the 1990s and the war in the ex-Yugoslavia region – there are very few things that man could rejoice in at that time. Here we will not talk about the war, but about something else – basketball. In the period of 1990-2002, as the Yugoslav Socialist Federation (1990 World Championship gold) and as Federal Yugoslavia (2 gold World Cups, 4 European Championship gold and 1 bronze medal, Olympic Games 1996 silver medal), Yugoslavia was always considered the superpower in basketball. It enjoyed a period of strength especially in the 1980s-1990s, when it was competing with the USA and the Soviet Union (Russia) for dominance in basketball. But few remember the contribution when a reporter asked an old man on the street what he thought about the victory of Yugoslavia in basketball and the golden boys, the “gods from Olymp,” as the journalist called them. The old man looked at him and said, they are not from Olympus, they are the ones from Herzegovina (Trebinje). The people of Trebinje are always playing basketball, and here children are born with a ball and hoop in hand. Basketball is played day and night, through sun and rain, cold and hot. There is a natural predisposition for this, as people here are very tall – on average 1.84 m – and this is characteristic of people from the Dinarides area of the high mountains. Some say that this is due to a mixture of mountain and sea air. In any case, the phenomenon remains unclear.
And thus, during the raging difficulties of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, a pheonix emerged from the ashes in European and world basketball. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the five golden players + coach reigning from Trebinje – the capital of basketball!
1. Dejan Bodiroga is known for his leadership, basketball IQ, and ability to force and play in all positions. Many basketball fans consider him the best player who has never played in the NBA. He won silver at the Olympics game, two World Cups and three European Championships with the national team of FR Yugoslavia. In Trebinje, he founded a basketball camp that bears his name and that brings together young basketball talent from all over the world every year.
2. Vladimir Radmanovic was born in Trebinje in 1980. He played for Red Star and FMP in Serbia, and then in the NBA as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and Chicago Bulls. Radmanovic has represented the Yugoslavian national basketball team and the national basketball team of Serbia and Montenegro. He earned a gold medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championships with Yugoslavia.
3. Milan Gurović is adored by fans of the club because of his temperament and courage during his playing career. He was a frequent target of fans of the opposing team. He was also the record holder of the Adriatic Basketball League with 45 points scored in 2006 to match Red Star against FMP. He is known for the three-point achieved against the US basketball team in Indianapolis in 2002. Currently, he is a basketball coach.
4. Predrag Sasha Danilovic won four European Championships with the Yugoslav national team and a silver medal at the Olympic Games in 1996. He was named the European Player of the Year in 1995 and MVP of the Italian championship in 1998. He also played in the NBA for a few seasons. He was a longtime president of basketball team Partizan, with whom he received a large number of basketball titles.
5. Drazen Petrovic was one of the best European basketball players at the end of 1980 and the leader of the new wave of European players in the NBA at the beginning of the 1990s. During this period, Drazen was the leader of the Yugoslav national team with great success, noted for their victory in the World Cup in Argentina in 1990. His basketball career ended prematurely when he lost his life in a car accident in 1993.
His older brother Aleksandar Petrovic is a former basketball player and current basketball coach. He coached the national basketball teams of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
It is interesting to mention that the basketball brothers Drazen Petrovic and Aleksandar are relatives of the basketball player Dejan Bodiroga.
In basketball circles, it is considered that Drazen Perovic marked European and world basketball of the early 1990s, and his cousin Dejan Bodiroga continued to dominate the world of basketball in the mid-to-late 1990s.