Mirza Delibašić (9 January 1954 – 8 December 2001) was a Bosnian professional basketball player and coach.

Mirza Delibašić
Delibašić with Real Madrid in the early 1980's
Personal information
Born(1954-01-09)9 January 1954
Tuzla, PR Bosnia and Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia
Died8 December 2001(2001-12-08) (aged 47)
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Listed height1.97 m (6 ft 5+12 in)
Listed weight87 kg (192 lb)
Career information
NBA draft1976: undrafted
Playing career1968–1983
PositionShooting guard
Coaching career1993–1994
Career history
As player:
1968–1972Sloboda Tuzla
1980–1983Real Madrid
1983Juve Caserta
As coach:
1993–1994Bosnia and Herzegovina
Career highlights and awards
FIBA Hall of Fame as player

Delibašić was named one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991. He was enshrined into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2008, he was named one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors. He is widely considered one of the best shooters in the history of European basketball.

Early life edit

Delibašič was born in Tuzla, PR Bosnia and Herzegovina to Izet Delibašić, a native of Kakanj, and Zajkana (née Mehičević) from Ljubuški.[1] Young Mirza took up tennis, excelling at it. By the age of fourteen, he switched to basketball.

Club career edit

Mirza Delibašić, nicknamed Kinđe, led his club Bosna to the EuroLeague Championship in 1979. He played his first games aged 15 for KK Sloboda Dita, Tuzla's basketball club. Three years later, in 1971, he signed a contract with KK Bosna.

After leaving Bosna, Delibašić went to the Spanish Primera División, where he ended up being considered one of the best players ever to play for Real Madrid, along with the likes of Juan Corbalán, Wayne Brabender, Fernando Martín Espina, Fernando Romay, Dražen Petrović, and Arvydas Sabonis.

In his club career, he won numerous titles in European club competitions. In addition to having played together for their Yugoslav national team, Mirza Delibašić and Dražen Dalipagić, also played together with Real Madrid. Their performance in a 1983 European Champions Cup game versus Cibona, in Zagreb, is only one of the many highlights of their careers. In that game, Delibašić scored 26 points and Dalipagić 33. The game appropriately finished with a two-on-one fast-break, with Delibašić making a behind-the-back fake pass to Dalipagić, and passing by a defender for a two-handed dunk at the buzzer. Cibona's fans put aside their team's loss in the game, and showed their appreciation for the Bosnian stars performances, with a standing ovation at the end of the game.

Career ending edit

In early summer 1983, twenty-nine-year-old Delibašić left Real Madrid and signed with the Italian League club JuveCaserta coached by his former Bosna mentor Bogdan Tanjević.

In August 1983, the team went for preseason training and conditioning to the town of Bormio in the Italian Alps. Following the gruelling altitude training, after coming back south to Caserta, Delibašić suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage that would turn out to be career-ending. With Delibašić in critical condition, a private plane was immediately organized to airlift him to the Military Medical Academy (VMA) in Belgrade where he was hospitalized for months. He survived and recovered, but not enough to return to playing professional basketball thus forcing him to retire from playing basketball effective immediately at only the age of twenty nine.

National team career edit

En route to a place among the greatest European players, Mirza Delibašić won every major FIBA tournament with the senior Yugoslavian national basketball team, including: the Summer Olympic Games gold medal, at the 1980 Summer Olympics, EuroBasket gold two times (1975 and 1977), and the FIBA World Cup gold at the 1978 FIBA World Championship.

Awards and accomplishments edit

Professional career edit

Coaching career edit

Delibašić lived in Sarajevo throughout the 1992-1996 siege of the city. Simultaneously, Delibašić coached the newly established Bosnian national basketball team at EuroBasket 1993 in Germany, where they finished in 8th place.[2]

Personal life and death edit

In the late 1970s, Delibašić married his girlfriend Branka. Their son Dario was born in December 1979. The couple divorced in 1980, after Delibašić moved abroad to play with Real Madrid.

In 1986, Delibašić, then retired from playing basketball and performing an administrative role at KK Bosna, married Slavica Šuka,[3] an active basketball player with ŽKK Bosna. The same year in October, the couple had a son named Danko.

Due to his heavy drinking and smoking, Delibašić's final years were marked by persistent health problems that led to his death in 2001 in Sarajevo, aged 47. At a funeral attended by thousands, he was interred next to his close friend—singer Davorin Popović who had died earlier that year—at Bare Cemetery's Alley of Greats. After Delibašić's death, KK Bosna renamed its arena in his honor.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Bogdan Tanjević: Kako je Mirza postao Sarajlija". Ljubusaci.com. 8 December 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Košarkaška reprezentacija BiH je 1993. Ostvarila najveći uspjeh – osmo mjesto".
  3. ^ Glušac, Borislav (1987). "Ljubav između koševa". Ven. Retrieved 15 December 2019.

External links edit