Aleksandar Nikolić

Aleksandar "Aca" Nikolić (Serbian Cyrillic: Александар "Аца" Николић; 28 October 1924 – 12 March 2000) was a Serbian professional basketball player and coach. He was also a professor at the University of Belgrade's Faculty of Sport and Physical Education.[1] He is often referred to as the Father of Yugoslav Basketball.[1]

Aleksandar Nikolić
Personal information
Born(1924-10-28)28 October 1924
Sarajevo, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Died12 March 2000(2000-03-12) (aged 75)
Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia
Listed height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Career information
Playing career1945–1951
PositionSmall forward
Coaching career1951–1985
Career history
As player:
1945Crvena zvezda
1945Yugoslav Army
19471949Crvena zvezda
1950Železničar Čačak
1951BSK Beograd
As coach:
1961–1963OKK Beograd
1963–1965Petrarca Padova
1965–1967OKK Beograd
1973–1974Crvena zvezda
1974–1976Fortitudo Bologna
1978–1980Borac Čačak
1981–1982Virtus Bologna
1982–1983Reyer Venezia
1983–1984Victoria Libertas
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As head coach:

Basketball Hall of Fame as coach
FIBA Hall of Fame as coach

Nikolić was a mentor of many world-class basketball coaches, such Božidar Maljković, Dušan Ivković, Bogdan Tanjević, Željko Obradović, etc. Nikolić was nicknamed the Professor, the Iron Sergeant. Nikolić was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 1998, and into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2008, he was named one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors.

Early lifeEdit

Though his parents lived in Brčko, Nikolić was born in Sarajevo, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, due to his pregnant mother, Krista, suddenly going into labour while visiting her sister in Sarajevo.[2] Young Aleksandar enjoyed a privileged upbringing courtesy of his wealthy father, Đorđe Nikolić, who had him at the age of 62.[3] After spending the first few years of his life in Brčko, Nikolić moved with his family to the capital Belgrade, where he would grow up.

Nikolić attended the Kralj Aleksandar Gymnasium at the Belgrade neighbourhood of Banovo Brdo.[2] He then studied medicine and law at the University of Belgrade, graduating in 1946.

Playing careerEdit

A small forward, Nikolić played 7 seasons in the Yugoslavia Federal League, from 1945 to 1951. During his playing days, he played for the Yugoslav Army (1945), Partizan (1946), Crvena zvezda (1945, 19471949), Železničar Čačak and BSK Beograd (1951). He won the Yugoslav Championships in 1945 with the Yugoslav Army and in 1947, 1948, and 1949, with Crvena Zvezda. He retired as a player with BSK Beograd in 1951.

National team playing careerEdit

Nikolić was a member of the Yugoslavia national basketball team during the late 1940s, making in 10 appearances.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

Club coaching careerEdit

After his playing career was over, Nikolić became involved with coaching, both with Serbia-based clubs, and those in Italy, notably Ignis Varese.

Yugoslavia national teamEdit

Nikolić was also the head coach of the senior Yugoslav national squad, between 1951 and 1965, and later between 1977 and 1978. During this time, he coached two future members of the FIBA Hall of Fame, in Borislav Stanković and Krešimir Ćosić. Under his leadership, Yugoslavia won the gold medals at the 1978 FIBA World Championship and the 1977 EuroBasket; silver medals at the 1963 FIBA World Championship, 1961 EuroBasket, and 1965 EuroBasket, and a bronze medal at the 1963 EuroBasket.[4]


Nikolić died on 12 March 2000, in Belgrade. He is buried in the Alley of Distinguished Citizens at Belgrade's New Cemetery. After his death, Aleksandar Nikolić Hall was named after him, in his honor.

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "15 godina od smrti Profesora" [15 Years since Professor Died]. B92. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b Spasojević, Nina (12 March 2018). "Ekskluzivno: Nepoznati detalji o profesoru Aci Nikoliću". Koš magazin. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  3. ^ Život je sjajna zajebancija;Vreme, 28 June 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Aleksandar Nikolić - The Professor". Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  5. ^ Full Cast & Crew of We Will Be the World Champions.

External linksEdit