clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

YouTube Gold: Yugoslavia’s Finest

Before the country blew apart, Yugoslavia was a cutting-edge basketball power

Dejan Bodiroga (L) and Vlade Divac (R) of Yugoslavia celebrate on the gold medal stand 08 September, 2002 after the gold medal game of the 2002 Men’s FIBA World Basketball Championships at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. Yugoslavia won the game 84-77in overtime. 
Photo credit should read STEVE C. MITCHELL/AFP via Getty Images

Yugoslavia is no longer a country, having blown apart following the death of Marshall Tito and then spiraling into a devastating war between the various former republics.

Vlade Divac talked of this time and of losing a treasured friendship with Dražen Petrović because Divac is a Serb and Petrović was a Croatian. Yugoslavia also included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia.

Before that though, starting in 1968 with an Olympic silver medal, Yugoslavia had emerged as a major force in basketball. The team followed with silver in the 1976 Olympics, gold in 1980, bronze in 1984, and silver again in 1988. Among the brilliant talents to emerge from Yugoslavia were Divac, Petrović, Toni Kukoč and Radivoj Korać, among others.

The Yugoslavs pioneered much of what we see in basketball today with precise three point shooting and highly mobile big men.

This video looks at the Top 10 Yugoslav players of all time. No matter how you look at it, this was a great program with great individual talent. There were a lot of things lost in that war and basketball is far down the list. A beautiful basketball tradition was utterly shattered along with the country during that time. It’s too bad the guys who played weren’t able to keep building on that glorious base.