Of all the games taking place in the Euroleague this week, this is the clash that really matters. All of the game may have pride or placing at stake but this is a genuine winner takes all, loser goes home game that makes sport so thrilling and exciting. If you’re looking for the most important... Continue Reading »
KK Crvena Zvezda
Although in English the name of Red Star Belgrade is still commonly known and revered for football and basketball terms, the club plays under the official title of Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, and is currently referred to as KK Crvena Zvezda Belgrade due to sponsorship reasons. The club was founded in 1945 and has a long and illustrious history.
In the 2015/16 season, the club plays in the Basketball League of Serbia, the Adriatic League and the Euroleague.
Currently, Crvena has two home stadiums, one that is used for domestic games and a larger stadium that is used for Euroleague games. The Pionir Hall is an 8,150 capacity venue located in the Palilula area of Belgrade and this is Crvena play their domestic games. The Belgrade side takes on the best teams in Europe in the Kombank Arena, which has been recognised as the largest indoor stadium in the whole of Europe.
Ground was broken on the venue formerly known as the Belgrade Arena back in 1991 but it wasn’t officially opened until July of 2004. The 1990s were an extremely difficult time in Belgrade with war ripping the region apart and the delay in the building of this venue is indicative of this time in this part of the world.
The current capacity for the Kombank Arena is just under 20,000 people but in March of 2014, 24,232 people crammed in to see Crvena defeat the champions of Ukraine, Budivelnyk Kiev, 79-70 in overtime in a Eurocup match. This is the record attendance for the arena, for the Eurocup and for any indoor basketball game in Europe.
As you would expect, there is a complicated history of domestic competition for Crvena. In the early days of the club, they dominated the Yugoslav League, in the days of the SFR Yugoslavia era. The club won the title in 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954 and 1955, for a magical 10 in a row. The club would also win the Yugoslav league title, in this guise in the 1968/69 season and the 1971/72 season.
In the 1990s, the political landscape in this region changed significantly, with the Yugoslav League being played out between teams from the FR Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro. Crvena won this title 3 times, in 1992/93, 1993/94 and again in 1997/98.
Since then, the club now plays in the Serbian League and they celebrated a title in 2014/15 and they have won the Serbian Cup 5 times, in 2003/04, 2005/06, 2012/13, 2013/14 and in 2014/15.
The club also plays in the Adriatic League, a league formed in the 2001/02 season and which features teams from the former Yugoslavia, which means teams from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia. Crvena won the Adriatic League in 2014//15.
While the club is a well-known team in the Euroleague, their most prestigious campaign in Europe came back in 1973/74 when they won the FIBA Saporta Cup. The Saporta Cup was recognised as being the second most prestigious European basketball trophy and understandaboly the club is still very proud of their success.
The Road To European Victory is still hailed by the club, more than 40 years on. On their way to the final they defeated 17 Nëntori Tirana from Albania, Alsace Bagnolet from France, CSKA Sofia from Bulgaria and in the semi-finals, they overcame Estudiantes Monteverde from Spain.
In the final, Crvena Zvezda defeated Zbrojovka Brno 86-75 on the 2nd of April in Udine in Italy to clinch the FIBA Saporta Cup. The club was also the runner-up in this tournament in the 1971/72 season and the 1974/75 campaign.
The has also twice been the runner up the FIBA Korac Cup, the third most prestigious tournament in European basketball, losing in the final in 1983/84 and in 1997/98.
Most famous coach
Probably the most revered person in the history of Crvena Zvezda is Aleksandar Nikolić, who can be found in The Naismith Hall of Fame. This is the most prestigious basketball museum in the world and it is indicator of the legacy of the man who was dubbed The Father of Yugoslav Basketball. Nikolić played for Crvena for two years between 1947 and 1949 but in his one year as a coach at the club, he placed the team on the European map with victory in the Saporta Cup.
In his coaching career, Nikolić won a Yugoslav league and cup, 3 Italian Cups, 3 Italian leagues. 3 Euroleagues and 2 FIBA Intercontinental Cups and he was twice named the European Coach of the Year. He was also coach of a much-loved international team but for Crvena fans, his position as coach in the 1974 triumph makes him a hero.
Nikolić is found in the FIBA Hall of Fame and he has also been placed into the Top 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors.
It is easy to focus on the coaching career of Nikolić but he also won the Yugoslav League with Crvena in 1947, 1948 and 1949 so he did play his part in the glory days at the start of the team.
Other Crvena Zvezda players found in the FIBA Hall of Fame include:
- Nebojša Popović
- Ranko Žeravica
- Borislav Stanković
- Zoran Slavnić
Of the current roster in the 2015/16 season, the key players for Crvena Zvezda Belgrade are likely to be Maik Zirbes, a Center and Quincy Miller, a Power Forward. The team has good depth but in the Euroleague games, these are the players who can make the difference for the side from Belgrade.
Zvezda won ten Yugoslav League chanpionships in a row after it was founded.
The only European title won by Zvezda was the Saporta Cup Championship in 1974. They also were finalists in the 1972 and 1975 Saporta Cup tournament, while they made it to the Korać Cup finals in 1984 and 1998.
Latest News about Crvena Zvezda
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