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Krešimir "Krešo" Ćosić (Croatian pronunciation: [krěʃimir t͡ɕɔ̌ːsit͡ɕ]; 26 November 1948 – 25 May 1995) was a Croatian[1][2][3] professional basketball player and coach. He was a collegiate All-American at Brigham Young University.

Krešimir Ćosić
Krešimir Ćosić 1970.jpg
Krešo Ćosić with Yugoslavia in 1970.
Personal information
Born(1948-11-26)November 26, 1948
Zagreb, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
DiedMay 25, 1995(1995-05-25) (aged 46)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
CollegeBYU (1970–1973)
NBA draft1973 / Round: 5 / Pick: 84th overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers
Playing career1964–1983
Coaching career1976–1991
Career history
As player:
1976–1978AŠK Olimpija
1978–1980Sinudyne Bologna
As coach:
1976–1978AŠK Olimpija
1984–1985Jugoplastika Split
1987–1988Virtus Bologna
1988–1991AEK Athens
Career highlights and awards
As player:
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
FIBA Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
Ćosić statue at Višnjik Sports Centre in Zadar

In 1996, Ćosić became only the second international player ever elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was also an inaugural member of the FIBA Hall of Fame. The Croatian Basketball Cup, and KK Zadar's home arena, are named after him.

Ćosić was a notable church leader and missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the deputy ambassador of Croatia to the U.S., in Washington, D.C.[4][5]

Early club careerEdit

Ćosić was born in Zagreb, SR Croatia, on 26 November 1948, to Ante and Darinka Ćosić. He was raised in Zadar, and in 1965, he started his club basketball playing career, by playing with KK Zadar. While with Zadar, he won three Yugoslav League titles: in 1965, 1967, and 1968.[6]

College careerEdit

In the summer of 1968, Ćosić was in a European team with Finnish player Veikko Vainio. Vainio, a student at Brigham Young University, told him about life in college, and invited him to play for the BYU Cougars. Ćosić accepted this invitation, and moved to the United States, in 1969.[6] In his freshman year, he played in 12 games for the freshman team, averaging 17.4 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. In his sophomore year, he averaged 15.1 points and 12.6 rebounds per game, leading BYU to the 1971 WAC Championship.

In his junior year, he again led his team to the WAC Championship, averaging 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, and being awarded All-American honors by the United Press International, making him the first non-American player to achieve that. In the 1972 NBA Draft, he was picked by the Portland Trail Blazers, in the 10th round (144th overall), but he opted to stay with BYU.

As a senior, he averaged 20.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, and again was given All-American honors, by the United Press International.[7] His career college basketball averages were 18.9 points, and 11.8 rebounds per game.

Late club careerEdit

At the 1973 NBA Draft, Ćosić was picked by the Los Angeles Lakers, in the 5th round (84th overall).[8] He rejected several professional offers from the NBA and ABA, and returned home to Croatia. Where again played with KK Zadar, from 1973 to 1976.

After that, he played with AŠK Olimpija (1976–1978), with Virtus Bologna (1978–1980), and with Cibona Zagreb (1980–1983).

National team careerEdit

Ćosić made his national team debut for Yugoslavia, at the age of 17, after being called up to the senior team by head coach Ranko Žeravica. He won a silver medal at the 1967 FIBA World Championship. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, he won another silver medal.

In total, Ćosić played in four Summer Olympic Games: 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980 in Moscow, when he led his team to the gold medal.[9][10] He previously had led Yugoslavia to a pair of FIBA World Cup gold medals, at the 1970 FIBA World Championship, and at the 1978 FIBA World Championship.[11]

Coaching careerEdit

Following his playing days, Ćosić turned to coaching, and he led the senior Yugoslav national team to a silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and to bronze medals at the 1986 FIBA World Championship, and the 1987 EuroBasket.

Church lifeEdit

During his time at Brigham Young University, Ćosić converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he later served as the LDS presiding priesthood holder, in post-communist Croatia. He was baptized by Hugh Nibley, one of the LDS church's most celebrated scholars. Ćosić also introduced the LDS Church to the former Yugoslavia. He translated the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, into Croatian. According to Nibley, Ćosić told him, "There are a hundred reasons why I should not join the Church, and only one reason why I should - because it is true." [12]


In the years following his career in basketball, Ćosić worked in the United States, as a Croatian diplomat, at the embassy in Washington, D.C., having helped secure the land where the embassy now stands. Ćosić died in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1995, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.[10] He was survived by his wife, Ljerka, his two daughters, and his son, Krešimir.[13]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Croatian Basketball Hall of Fame".
  2. ^ "The Krešimir Ćosić Hall".
  3. ^ "Famous people born in Zadar / Krešimir Ćosić".
  4. ^ "A Dalmatian Sensation". 5 June 1995.
  5. ^ "National Hero". Church News.
  6. ^ a b Stankovic, Vladimir. "Kresimir Cosic, a player ahead of his time". EuroLeague.
  7. ^ "KRESIMIR COSIC". Brigham Young University.
  8. ^ Lakersweb Draft.
  9. ^ "The day when basketball of Zadar got the shiniest pearl". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  10. ^ a b Krešimir Ćosić.
  11. ^ Fiba profile archive.
  12. ^ Nibley, Eloquent Witness (2008, ISBN 9781606410035), page 261.
  13. ^ Harmon, Dick (8 June 2015). "Kresimir Cosic honored in Croatia, teammate on hand for celebration". Deseret News.

External linksEdit