Želimir "Željko" Obradović (Serbian Cyrillic: Желимир Жељко Обрадовић; born March 9, 1960) is a Serbian professional basketball head coach and former professional basketball player. He currently serves as the head coach of Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Basketball Super League.
Obradović in 2018
|Born||March 9, 1960|
Čačak, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia
|NBA draft||1982 / Undrafted|
|Career highlights and awards|
As head coach:
Generally considered as the best European head coach, and regarded by many as the greatest European head coach of all time, Obradović has won 40 club titles in his coaching career, including nine EuroLeague titles with five different clubs, and also made 18 EuroLeague Final Four appearances during his coaching career. His list of professional titles won is unmatched by any other European head coach. In addition to his success at club level, he has won major trophies as a head coach of the Yugoslavia national team, most notably the 1997 Eurobasket and the 1998 FIBA World Championship.
Borac Čačak (1978–1984)Edit
Obradović started his career as a basketball player with Borac Čačak in their youth system.
During the 1977–78 season, eighteen-year-old Obradović got his first taste of senior team basketball at Borac, appearing in 6 games during the season and contributing a total of 3 points. After eventually establishing himself as the team's starting point guard he stayed with the club until 1984.
Partizan Belgrade (1984–1991)Edit
Over the summer 1984, twenty-four-year-old Obradović joined Partizan. He was brought in by Partizan's incoming head coach Moka Slavnić and vice president Dragan Kićanović, both recent retirees who had starred on the Yugoslav national team throughout the 1970s as a legendary guard duo.
In Obradović's third season with the team, Partizan won the 1986–87 Yugoslav League title. The following season, they reached the 1987–88 European Champions Cup Final Four. Finally, they won the Yugoslavian Cup and the Korać Cup in 1989. During his time at Partizan, Obradović established himself as one of the best and reliable point guards in Yugoslavia.
His playing career was put to a halt when he was sentenced two years in prison due to causing the death of a pedestrian, in a car accident. After serving his prison sentence, Obradović returned to the court as a player, and already in his latter days as a player, he coached Partizan's youth team. He retired from playing basketball in 1991, and immediately signed on as the head coach of the senior team of the club.
Obradović's greatness as a basketball head coach is fully confirmed by the great collection of titles he has acquired in his twenty seven year career as a coach: a record nine pro sports club EuroLeague titles (with five different teams), two Saporta Cups, numerous national domestic league championships and cups, the silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the gold medal at the EuroBasket 1997, the gold medal at the 1998 FIBA World Championship, and the bronze medal at the EuroBasket 1999, while coaching the FR Yugoslavian national basketball team, where he was the head coach from 1996–00. He was also the head coach of the Serbia and Montenegro national basketball team in 2004–05.
Partizan Belgrade (1991–1993)Edit
Obradović's coaching career began quite suddenly in the summer of 1991 while he was still an active 31-year-old Partizan Belgrade player getting ready for EuroBasket 1991 with the Yugoslav national team. Selected and coached by Dušan Ivković, the 1991 national squad was to be captained by Obradović — the oldest player among the assembled group. However, after finishing the training camp in Poreč and coming back to Belgrade to sleep over before leaving in the morning for a preparation friendly tournament in Germany, Obradović got called in for a meeting with the Partizan management — club president Radojica Nikčević, vice-president Dragan Kićanović, as well as board members Đorđe "Siske" Čolović, Milorad "Miketa" Đurić, and Dragan Todorić — who convinced him to take over the Partizan head coaching job, which entailed retiring from playing effective immediately thus giving up a chance to captain the national team at the upcoming EuroBasket.
The idea was to have Obradović, a debutante head coach, work under the guidance of experienced elder statesman of Yugoslav basketball 67-year-old professor Aca Nikolić whose coaching advisory services were soon secured by Kićanović and the management team. Also joining the club's front office in the technical director capacity was another fresh retiree from playing, 31-year-old Milenko Savović, Obradović's longtime teammate at Partizan, who spent the previous 1990–91 season playing for Vojvodina.
In 1991–92 season, Partizan had 20–2 record in the regular season of 1991–92 YUBA League. In the Playoffs of final series, it won with 3–0 against Crvena zvezda. It also won the Yugoslav Basketball Cup in 1992, after 105–70 win over Bosna in the final game. In European competition, Obradović led the youngest team to become the champions of 1991–92 FIBA European League, on the spur of breakup of Yugoslavia. Partizan played its international matches in Fuenlabrada, Spain, due to international sanctions imposed on FR Yugoslavia.
In 1992–93 season, Partizan was runner-up to Crvena zvezda with 3–2 record in the final series. In 1993 Yugoslav Basketball Cup, it lost with 104–91 in the final game to OKK Beograd.
In 1993, Obradović signed a contract with the Spanish team Joventut, based in Badalona, where Partizan played its international matches in 1991–92 season. With Joventut, he won the 1993–94 FIBA European League. In Liga ACB, Joventut finished in 3rd place with 24–14 record. In 1994 Copa del Rey de Baloncesto, Joventut was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Real Madrid (1994–1997)Edit
After the end of season, Obradović signed a contract with Real Madrid. In his first season with the club, Real Madrid failed to defend the Liga ACB title, finishing in 3rd place with 27–19 record. In 1995 Copa del Rey de Baloncesto, Real Madrid finished in 4th place. However, he won the 1994–95 FIBA European League.
In 1995–96 season, Real Madrid didn't manage to take any title. In Liga ACB, Real Madrid finished in 5th place with 28–12 record. In 1996 Copa del Rey de Baloncesto, Real Madrid finished in 3rd place. On the European scene, Obradović made his third consecutive Final Four appearance and second with Real Madrid, but ended losing in 3rd place game. In 1996–97 season, Real Madrid finished as the runner-up in theLiga ACB and was also eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 1997 Copa del Rey de Baloncesto. In European competitions, Real Madrid participated in second-tier FIBA Saporta Cup and eventually won it with 78–64 in the final game over Verona. At the end of the season, Obradović parted ways with the team.
Benetton Treviso (1997–1999)Edit
In the summer of 1997, Obradović signed a contract with the Italian team Benneton Treviso. In 1997–98 season, Treviso was eliminated in the quarterfinal series of the Serie A1 Playoffs with 3–2 record by Reggio Emilia. In 1997–98 FIBA EuroLeague, Treviso finished in 3rd place after 96–89 win over Partizan Belgrade in the Final Four.
In 1998–99 season, Treviso finished as the runner-up in the Serie A1 Playoffs, after 3–0 record in the final series against Varese. Also, Treviso won the FIBA Saporta Cup, following 64–60 win in the final game over Valencia.
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In the summer of 1999, Obradović became the head coach of Panathinaikos. In his first season with the club, he won the 1999–2000 Greek Basket League with 3–0 record in the final series against P.A.O.K. Thessaloniki. In 2000 Greek Basketball Cup final, it lost with 59–57 by AEK Athens. Also, Panathinaikos won the 1999–2000 FIBA EuroLeague, after 73–67 win in the final game over Maccabi Tel Aviv. It was club's second EuroLeague championship in history.
Obradović stayed with Panathinaikos until 2012, leading the team to become the top club in European club basketball during that time, while simultaneously maintaining the club at the top position in the Greek national championship. In total, Obradović won with Panathinaikos eleven Greek League championships, seven Greek Cups and five EuroLeague titles (2000, 2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011).
In 2007, he achieved winning the highly coveted Triple Crown championship, for the second time as a head coach (the first was in 1992 with Partizan), and won the EuroLeague Coach of the Year award. Also in 2009, in Berlin, he completed this achievement as head coach for the third time. In 2011, he won his 8th EuroLeague trophy overall, and 5th with Panathinaikos.
Despite winning the Greek Cup in 2011-12 season, Panathinaikos finished 4th in the 2011–12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague while Olympiacos was crowned Euroleague champion. Following this disappointment Panathinaikos lost to Olympiacos in a 2-3 series for the Greek League final and in June 2012 Obradović announced he was stepping down after 13 consecutive seasons.
In early July 2013, Obradović signed a two-year contract with the Turkish club Fenerbahçe, reportedly worth €3 million in net income salary over the contract period. After inheriting a roster with point guard Bo McCalebb and versatile shooting guards / small forwards Bojan Bogdanović and Emir Preldžić, the famous head coach added a pair of marquee forwards, Linas Kleiza and Nemanja Bjelica. He additionally signed Luka Žorić and Melih Mahmutoğlu, as well as talented youngsters Ömer Yurtseven and Kenan Sipahi.
In his first season with the club, Obradović won the Turkish League championship following 4–3 record in the final series against Galatasaray. In the 2014 Turkish Cup, Fenerbahçe were eliminated in the semifinals by Pınar Karşıyaka. In the EuroLeague, they reached the Top 16 stage.
In the 2014–15 season, Fenerbahçe finished the regular season of the Turkish League in first place with a 23–7 record. In the Playoffs, they were eliminated in the semifinal series by Karşıyaka Basket with a 3–1 record. They were also runners-up in the 2015 Turkish Basketball Cup. In the EuroLeague, Fenerbahçe reached the 2015 Euroleague Final Four, where they were eliminated in the semifinals and later lost in the 3rd place game. The appearance in the Final Four was the first in the club's long history. On May 25, 2015, after the end of season, he signed a two-year extension with Fenerbahçe.
In the 2015–16 season, Fenerbahçe finished in second place of the Turkish League regular season, with a 24–6 record. In the Playoffs, Fenerbahçe went on to win the championship with a 4–2 record in the final series against Anadolu Efes. The club also won the 2016 Turkish Cup Basketball. In the EuroLeague, they finished as runners-up, after losing against PBC CSKA Moscow in the final game of the 2016 Final Four.
On November 18, 2016, Ozan Balaban, board member of Fenerbahçe SK, declared at the QNB Finansbank sponsorship ceremony of the club, that Obradović would sign a new three-year deal with the club. On December 3, 2016, Obradović officially extended his contract with the club until the end of the 2019–20 season.
In the 2016–17 season, Fenerbahçe finished with a 28–2 record of the Turkish League regular season, and eventually won the championship after a 4–0 record in the final series over rivals Beşiktaş. On May 21, 2017, Fenerbahçe won the EuroLeague championship game against Olympiacos, which was the first EuroLeague championship in the club's history and the first time for any Turkish team. In the summer of 2017, team's core players Bogdan Bogdanović and Ekpe Udoh left the team and moved to the NBA.
In the 2017–18 season, Fenerbahçe once again finished the Turkish League regular season in first place with a dominant 27–3 record. In the 2018 Turkish Basketball Cup, Fenerbahçe were eliminated early in the quarterfinals by the eventual cup champions Anadolu Efes. In the 2017–18 EuroLeague, Fenerbahçe made it to the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four, their fourth consecutive Final Four appearance. Eventually, they lost to Real Madrid with 80–85 in the final game. In the end of the season, Fenerbahçe won its third consecutive Turkish League title, after winning with 4–1 record in the final series over Tofaş.
Well known for his temperamental approach, Obradović often utilized a system heavy on pick-and-rolls, focusing on using the corners and back passes to open up the offense and make it more difficult for the defense to commit. At Panathinaikos from 2004 onward, he made center Mike Batiste and point guard Dimitris Diamantidis the focal points of this pick-and-roll setup.
Revered San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has been a longtime admirer of Obradović's coaching style, frequently praising him and admitting to "stealing his plays". In turn, Obradović, ahead of his second season coaching Fenerbahce, talked about spending a significant portion of the summer 2014 off-season, dissecting the San Antonio game, particularly positioning and ball movement, with a view of implementing it into his team.
|G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win-loss %|
Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the team played during the season. He also coached in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.
- FIBA Korać Cup winner: 1 (with Partizan: 1988–89)
- Yugoslav League champion: 1 (with Partizan: 1986–87)
- Yugoslav Cup winner: 1 (with Partizan: 1988–89)
- European Cups (11×):
- National Championships (16×):
- National Cups (9×):
- National Super Cups (4×):
- EuroLeague Final Four without winning (7×):
Titles by clubEdit
- Partizan (1991–1993)
- Joventut Badalona (1993–1994)
- Real Madrid (1994–1997)
- Benetton Treviso (1997–1999)
- Panathinaikos (1999–2012)
- Fenerbahçe (2013–present)
- FR Yugoslavia National Team (1995–2000)
- "Obradovic: More than a coach". eurohoops.net. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Ivkovic: "Obradovic is by far the best coach in Europe"". eurohoops.net. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Fenerbahçe's coach Zeljko Obradovic seeking record 9th title". dailysabah.com. Daily Sabah. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Vladimir Stankovic's list: Top 10 coaches of the Final Four era". euroleague.net. 30 April 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- Stanković, Vladimir (29 January 2017). "Zeljko Obradović, destined for Istanbul". Euroleague.net. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- FIBA.com SCG – Obradovic returns to helm of Serbia & Montenegro.
- "Fenerbahce officially name Zeljko Obradovic head coach". Sportando. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Obradović zvanično u Fenerbahčeu". b92.net (in Serbian). Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Zvanično: Obradović produžio ugovor". b92.net (in Serbian). 25 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Aziz Yıldırım and Zeljko Obradović agree for extend 3 years contract.
- Obradovic will sign 3 year extended contract.
- "Obradovic and Gherardini extended their contracts". Eurohoops.net. 3 December 2016.
- Preradović, V. (21 May 2017). "Fenerbahče osvojio Evroligu: Srpski trio sa peharom". novosti.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 19 May 2018.
- "Real Madrid is 2018 EuroLeague champion". euroleague.net. 20 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- "Fenerbahçe Doğuş wins 3rd consecutive Turkish basketball title". dailysabah.com. Daily Sabah. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- Avdić, Edin (24 March 2015). "Njih 30 miliona i Željko". mondo.rs. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- Mitnick, AJ (8 May 2014). "Mitnick: Obradovic too brash to coach in the NBA? Ridiculous". Sheridan Hoops. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- Whittell, Ian (12 November 2007). "10 reasons to watch the Euroleague". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- from San Antonio Express-News (15 October 2007). "Panathinaikos' Schemes Intrigue Popovich". RealGM. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- Laurie, Kenny (13 October 2014). "Obradovic shows his players San Antonio Spurs blueprint". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Željko Obradović.|
- Željko Obradović at euroleague.net
- Željko Obradović at paobc.gr
- Interview - Željko Obradović, Nedeljnik 2017 (in Serbian)
- Interview – Željko Obradović; Vreme, 12 February 2004 (in Serbian)
- Zeljko Obradovic - More than a coach - Euroleague Documentary Series
- The top of the Greek bench: Željko Obradović at esake.gr (in Greek)