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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)December 26, 1951
Nikšić, PR Montenegro, FPR Yugoslavia
DiedJune 23, 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


Playing careerEdit

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.

Professional 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 Ante 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 summer 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.

In 1979, Varajić scored 47 points[3]the record for the number of points scored in the finals of the FIBA European Champions' Cup (later called the EuroLeague), during the period in which he played with Bosna Sarajevo, against the Italian club Emerson Varese, in Bosna's triumph, by a score of 96-93, in Grenoble, France.

National team careerEdit

Varajić was a member of the senior Yugoslav national basketball team. He played with Yugoslavia in 126 games. With Yugoslavia, he won medals at the following tournaments: the gold medal at the 1974 Balkan Games, the gold medal at the 1975 Mediterranean Games, the gold medal at the 1976 Balkan Games, the silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Games, the gold medal at the 1977 EuroBasket, and the bronze medal at the 1979 EuroBasket.

Post-playing careerEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Varajić came to Sarajevo in 1970 as a 17 years old teen to study and play. He lived there until break-out of Bosnian War in early 1992, and since then he has been living in Belgrade. He graduated from the University of Physical Education, Academy for Basketball Coaches - Basketball and Academy for Sports Managers Section.

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 25th, 1980)
  • The highest national honor of the City of Sarajevo (Honored April 6th, 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. ^ [1]

External linksEdit