(Top picture me at a KK BOSNA ASA game)
(Bottom picture the great Nenad Markovic in action)
Bosnia has a rich history of bringing some of the best basketball players in the world from it's soil. The biggest names on the list have to be Mirza Delibasic, Drazen Delipagic, Emir Mutapic, Predrag Benacek, Bogdan Tanjevic, Nenad Markovic, Damir Mrsic, Goran Firic, Teoman Alibegovic, Zoran Savic, Mario Primorac, Predrag "Sasa" Danilovic (NBA starter) and the new generation of more recent players Aleksandar Radojovic(NBA lottery pick), Vladmir Radmanovic(1st round NBA draft pick), Damir Mulaomerovic(long time starter of Croatian national team) , Damir (Omerhodzic) Markota (NBA player), Zoran Planinic(1st round NBA draft pick), Stanko Barac (NBA draft pick), Mirza Teletovic, Jasmin Hukic, Kenan Bajramovic, Mirza Begic, Mile Ilic (NBA player), Emir Preldzic (NBA draft pick), Edin Bavcic (NBA draft pick), Nedzad Sinanovic (NBA draft pick) and the young generation led by Nihad Dedovic.The most famous of Bosnian basketball players has to be Mirza "KINDJE" Delibasic. Mirza brought great fame to KK BOSNA when he brought the team to the Euroleague title in 1979. He then went on to become one of the best players in Real Madrid history along with Arvydas Sabonis and Drazen Petrovic. He was elected to the basketball hall of fame in 2007. He spent the war years in Sarajevo and the Siege took a heavy toll on him and died in 2001.
Teoman Alibegovic was a very skilled 6'9 big man who played on those last great Yugoslav teams of the 1980's that featured Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic, Stojko Vrankovic, Aleksandar Djordjevic, Dino Radja, Toni Kukoc and Zarko Paspalj who all went on to NBA careers. He went on to star in college in the US at Oregon state and had the chance to play for the Miami Heat, which didn't work out. Teoman Alibegovic lost many family members in the Bosnian war and moved on to play for the Slovenes. He has tried to involve himself in Bosnian basketball since retiring but his overtures have always been rebuffed.
The most memorable player of recent memory is Nenad Markovic who led the team during the war years. The most memorable of which was while representing BiH in a qualifying game put up 63 points in a win! Many players represented themselves well in BiH but few did it as a youth, then returned to retire in KK BOSNA as a player, then coached both KK BOSNA and later the Bosnian national team.
The war caused many Bosnians to seek playing abroad and KSBiH has never properly recovered. KK BOSNA has never been able to regain it's lost glory due as much to poor management as a lack of proper funding.
Many players discovered roots that led them to playing in Slovenia like Teoman Alibegovic, Mirza Begic and Emir Preldzic or with the Croatian or Serbian NT.
The hope is one day Bosnia will be able to recapture the glory years that have become a distant memory, lost to most.
In the future I will cover Bosnia's lost generation of players, the coaches and young prospects and the dismal condition of the famous Bosnian Clubs...