Bora Stankovic passes away: Departure of the man who changed global basketball forever
The legendary coach and long-time FIBA official passed away in his home in Belgrade at the age of 95
Legendary basketball official Borislav "Bora" Stankovic, a longtime FIBA secretary general and member of the IOC, passed away at the age of 95 in Belgrade, Telegraf.rs has learned.
If we can say that someone is a man of basketball, then it must be Borislav Stankovic, the legendary Serbian basketball coach and FIBA official at a time when basketball in Europe was experiencing its greatest expansion.
Although he was everything in basketball and it was everything to him, his first sporting choices were tennis and table tennis. In WW2 occupied Belgrade he became the champion of Serbia in table tennis in 1943.
He repeated the same success three years later. As the liberation came, Bora opted for basketball. During the war, table tennis balls were very expensive and rare to buy, so the whole society, as well as Stankovic, opted for basketball.
He founded the basketball club Red Star, became its captain and coach, and also scored the first point in the history of World Championships.
Take a look at a gallery of photographs showing what kind of a great of global basketball Bora Stankovic was.
He was one of the people who attended the founding session of the Red Star Sporting Society in 1945 and won three championship titles with its basketball team. It was the time of the beginning of this sport in Yugoslavia, when basket was played outdoors on concrete-paved courts.
After three years at Red Star, he became the coach of Zeleznicar, taking the club to the top tier league. He played for the Yugoslav national team for several years, a member of the team that finished sixth at the 1950 World Championship in Buenos Aires. After Red Star he played for a few more seasons for Partizan, until he finished his veterinary studies.
Along with his job as a veterinarian, he was the OKK Beograd coach, from which he created a powerful basketball dynasty of the postwar years.
From 1953 to 1966, he and his associates literally created a new club that was in those years able to match the superior Olimpija from Ljubljana. OKK Belgrade, led by heroic scorer Radivoj Korac Zucko, won the national championship three times - at a time when the national team started to win medals in world competitions.
They also played several times in the semifinals of the Champions Cup (what's these days the Euroleague final).
The fact that from 1956 to 1966 he was secretary general of the Basketball Organization of Yugoslavia speaks to his dedication to basketball. At the same time he was the chief veterinary inspector at the Zeleni Venac Market.
After the OKK Beograd, he led the Italian Oransoda from Cantu and became the first foreign coach to win the Italian championship. Then, after a game where he collapsed due to the high level of stress he had accumulated over the years, he decided to quit his coaching job and dedicate himself to working at FIBA where he had been a member of the European Cups Commission since 1958, becoming permanently employed by the world basketball organization in 1969.
After eight years at the FIBA and after William Jones' retirement, Bora Stankovic became Secretary General of the World Basketball Federation in 1976. In this role, he actively worked on the development of basketball across the world, and participated in the work of the technical committee when the rules changed.
During his era that lasted until 2002, basketball underwent major changes. A three-point line was introduced, the dimension of the court was changed, halftimes were abandoned in favor of quarters to get closer to NBA basketball.
Stankovic was also an advocate of the idea that NBA professionals should play at the Olympics, and that happened in 1992.
He participated in 28 European Championships, 14 World and 14 Olympic Games as well as 12 FIBA Congresses. That's hard to imagine.
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