• Želimir Željko Obradović

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      The „Karić Brothers" Award Laureates in 2019
      Želimir Željko Obradović
      • 25. November 2019.
    • Generaly considered as the best and greatest European basketball head coach of all time, winner of nine European Cups with five different clubs, started playing basketball in Borac Čačak.The history of European basketball in recent decades has been well written in one striking „script“ by Želimir Željko Obradović.

      "I was most affected by basketball in 1973. It was the European Championship in Barcelona, ​​where Čačak's Dragan Kićanović played remarkably for the National Basketball Team. That made me to start thinking more about basketball and devote myself to it."

      In 1984, he left Borac Čačak and joined Partizan Belgrade, building his playing career for seven years. At age of 28 he played fot the National Team at the Seoul 1988 Summer Olympics, and won a silver medal. He also brought home a gold medal with the National Team from the 1990 FIBA World Championship hosted by Argentina.

      At the invitation of Dragan Kićanović and Moka Slavnić, at the age of 31, he assumed the coaching position at Partizan. By the end of the first season, he had won the first of nine European titles. That’s when the career of, now, legendary coach Željko Obradović began to take off. He often points out that he is grateful to Dragan Kićanović, Prof. Aca Nikolić and Dušan Ivković for his coaching career.

      And it was he who, as Assistant Selector for National Team, won European gold for Yugoslavia in 1995. He led the National Basketball Team to the Olympic silver in 1996 Atlanta, World gold in 1998, European gold in 1997 and bronze in 1999.

      While he was a Partizan Belgrade coach, he won 1992 FIBA European League and two years later but as a coach of Spanish Joventutin 1994 and with Real Madrid one year later.

      As a head coach of Panathinaikos Željko Obradović has achieved unprecedented success in the history of European basketball - five EuroLeague titles from 2000 to 2011. He won 11 Greek League championships and seven Greek Cupswith the Athens-based club.

      In the season 2006/07 Obradović achieved winning the highly coveted Triple Crown with Panathinaikos and won the Alexander Gomelsky EuroLeague Coach of the Year award of Europe's premier level basketball league 3 times. In summer 2013, he signed a two-year contract with the Turkish club Fenerbahce that, under his leadership, made five straight EuroLeague Finals Four appearances.

      Željko says that the hardest thing is to stay on top and defend the title because the best have much less room for progress, unlike those who would like take their place. Yet he continued to be on the top, on the very throne of European basketball for decades. He points out that the 'club must be healthy from the inside' to be able to make good results.

      He bases his life philosophy on the advice of his father - „respect others if you want them to respect you.“

      A man worthy of respect has never forgotten his roots. Together with his school friend, Željko Obradović rebuilt the basketball court next to the Ratko Mitrović Elementary School in Čačak, where he made his first basketball steps, convinced that playgame is something that no child should be ever denied.

      Serbia's Basketball Coach with the most trophies won, Željko Obradović, has supported the "Lions for the Eagles" campaign to preserve the Eastern Imperial Eagle (known as Crusader Eagle), the Symbol of the Serbian Coat of Arms. Among the many awards he has received for his work are the Lifetime Achievement Award honored by Serbia’s Sports Association and was declared Honorary Citizen of Athens.

      Although he says that the coach's bread is of nine crusts, still every training time is his joy, the game in particular, that’s where he draws strength.

      "The moment I don't feel that pleasure anymore, I’ll probably stop coaching. I believe that every training, every game and every day of one’s life gives a person a chance to be better."

      The Karic Foundation rewards the best coach in the history of the European basketball, Željko Obradović, the Karic Brothers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sport.