The Belgrade coach has passed away at the age of 77. In his record, two Euroleague, a World Cup, and 38 seasons in the best benches.
It is impossible to understand the history of continental basketball without the figure of Dusan Ivkovic, who died this Thursday in Belgrade, at the age of 78. Serbian media reported that he died in a Belgrade hospital after lung failure. In the path of the great Balkan coaches, he managed the best generation in the history of Yugoslavia and also marked an era at the club level, winning, among many other titles, two Euroleague with Olympiacos (1997 and 2012).
After his time as a player for Radnicki, the club in his neighborhood, where his brother also played, soon, at the age of 35, he began to write his legend on the benches at Partizan, with which he won the treble (League, Cup, and Korac) in 1979, on his debut. As for clubs, ‘Duda’ was also precocious in his landing in Greece, where he would mark an era in Aris, PAOK, Panionios, Olympiacos … Despite his continuous approaches, he never trained in the ACB. In his later years, he also managed CSKA (2002-2005) and, finally, Efes, his last stop, until 2016.
Where he also left his mark was with the ‘Reprezentacija’, which he joined as Luka Stancic’s assistant coach in the youth team, which he would take over in 1983, having at his command none other than Drazen Petrovic. Four years later, he was appointed senior coach, replacing Kresimir Cosic. Their biggest success was world gold in Argentina 90, with the best selection in Yugoslavia’s history, months before the Balkan war-separated that unique generation. At his command, a European-style Dream Team: Petrovic, Obradovic (one of the technicians he most influenced), Kukoc, Perasovic, Divac, Paspalj …
Two years earlier they had been silver in Seoul 88, after losing the final against the USSR, and in 1989 gold in the European in Zagreb, with 28 points from Petrovic and 25 from Vlade Divac in the final against Greece. He would also win gold in the 1991 Eurobasket in Italy (that June 29 would be Yugoslavia’s last match in official competition, shortly after Croatia and Slovenia proclaim their independence), this time without Petrovic, completing four years of glory in his debut and that would round out in the 1993 continental tournament, which he also won.
After continuing to shine at the club level (treble with Olympiacos in 1997, Saporta Cup with AEK in 2000, ULEB Cup with Dynamo Moscow in 2006 …), Ivkovic – who had a family relationship with inventor Nikola Tesla and who was passionate about pigeon breeding – he returned to the Serbian national team 13 years later. And, with a young and talented generation, they only lost in the 2009 European final against Spain.
This Thursday, September 16, he died in a hospital in Belgrade. As reported by television channel N1, the technician due to “pulmonary edema and herpes.”