Žarko Varajić

Žarko Varajić (Serbian Cyrillic: Жарко Варајић; 26 December 1951 – 23 June 2019) was a Serbian professional basketball player and executive. He represented the Yugoslavia national team internationally.

Žarko Varajić
Personal information
Born(1951-12-26)26 December 1951
Nikšić, PR Montenegro, Yugoslavia
Died23 June 2019(2019-06-23) (aged 67)
Belgrade, Serbia
Listed height2.02 m (6 ft 7+12 in)
Listed weight91 kg (201 lb)
Career information
NBA draft1973 / Undrafted
Playing career1969–1984
PositionSmall forward
Career history
1981–1982Al Ain BC
Career highlights and awards

Early careerEdit

Growing up in Nikšić, Varajić pursued football in the FK Sutjeska youth system before fully devoting to basketball by switching to the basketball club within the same sports society — KK Sutjeska — and playing for its youth teams.

Playing careerEdit

In 1970, eighteen-year-old Varajić joined KK Bosna, a club competing in the second-tier level of Yugoslav basketball.[1] With young players such as Anto Đogić, Rođeni Krvavac, and center Zdravko Čečur on its roster, the club sought a league promotion to the top-tier level Yugoslav First League, a feat that had been eluding them for decades.

During the summer of 1971, the club's head coaching post was taken over by the 24-year-old Bogdan Tanjević, who had just retired from playing. The young squad led by a young rookie head coach, and with the new acquisition of 22-year-old Svetislav Pešić from KK Partizan, the only player on the roster to have previously played top-tier level basketball,[2] managed to gain promotion to the top-tier level Yugoslav First League. Varajić proved to be a formidable tandem with team-mate Mirza Delibašić, a tandem rivaled only by Dražen Dalipagić and Dragan Kićanović in Partizan.[3]

Bosna won the 1979 FIBA European Champions Cup in Grenoble, France where Varajić scored 45 points – the record for the number of points scored in the finals of the FIBA European Champions Cup (later called the EuroLeague) – against the Italian club Emerson Varese by a score of 96–93.[4]

National team careerEdit

Varajić was a member of the senior Yugoslav national basketball team. He played with Yugoslavia in 126 games.

Mostly used as backup to Dražen Dalipagić at small forward, Varajić won medals at the following tournaments: silver at the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Games, gold at the 1977 EuroBasket, and bronze at the 1979 EuroBasket. He furthermore won golds at the 1974 Balkan Championship, 1975 Mediterranean Games, and 1976 Balkan Championship.

Post-playing careerEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Varajić came to Sarajevo at the age of seventeen in 1970 to study and play. He lived there until the break-out of the Bosnian War in early 1992, and since then he lived in Belgrade. He graduated from the University of Physical Education, Academy for Basketball Coaches - Basketball and Academy for Sports Managers Section.


Varajić died on 23 June 2019. He was interred in the Alley of Distinguished Citizens in the Belgrade New Cemetery on 28 June 2019.[5]

Awards and honors as a playerEdit

KK BosnaEdit

  • Yugoslav League Champion: (1978, 1980, 1983)
  • Yugoslav Cup Winner: (1978, 1984)
  • FIBA Korać Cup Runner-up: (1978)
  • FIBA European Champions Cup (EuroLeague) Champion: (1979)
  • FIBA Intercontinental Cup Runner-up: (1979)
  • Super Oscar for the best European player in all European Cups: (1979)
  • The highest national honor of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Honored May 25, 1980)
  • The highest national honor of the City of Sarajevo (Honored April 6, 1979)
  • Three golden pins of SOFKA of Yugoslavia
  • Decoration of ``Nemanja``, the first order of FR Yugoslavia
  • Decoration of the Yugoslav Flag, the first order

Yugoslav senior national teamEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tomašević, Aleksandar (16 March 1978). "Kad se Skenderijom prolomi "Varaja majstore!"". Ven. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  2. ^ Sofić, Ibrahim (4 April 2014). "Boša o tituli iz 1979: Neki drugi svijet". Al Jazeera Balkans. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  3. ^ bhbasket.ba (2019-06-23). "Skenderija je pjevala: Kinđe i Varaja, pobjeda do kraja" (in Bosnian). Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  4. ^ European club champions: 1958-2014
  5. ^ KSS (2019-06-28). "Žarko Varajić sahranjen u Aleji zaslužnih građana" (in Serbian). Retrieved 2019-08-31.

External linksEdit