Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Croatia Readies for 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers

November 23, 2021 - A press conference ahead of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers and Croatia's first match against Slovenia on Thursday in Zagreb. 

A press conference of the Croatia men's senior national team was held today at the KC Dražen Petrović Press Center ahead of the first qualifying matches for the World Cup, held in 2023 in Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, reports HKS.

At the conference, basketball legend Dino Rađa was available to the media for all questions, this time in the capacity of the president of the HKS Expert Council, national team coach Veljko Mršić and national team members Pavle Marčinković and Lovro Gnjidić.

Dino Rađa immediately drew attention to the national team youth: “As you can see, we have rejuvenated the team as much as possible. The atmosphere at training is very good; you feel a good vibe. The guys work as honestly as possible and are unencumbered. As much as youth and inexperience can be their flaw, so much so that it can be turned into an advantage because they don't carry some former results. They have only one task, and that is to get off the court with bloody knees, and everything else will be forgiven. I wish them good luck!"

Coach Veljko Mršić continued Dino's thoughts: “True, a new national team. A combination of youth and experience will be the best possible in the last two windows in late autumn 2022 and early 2023. We will certainly be good even now because, as Dino said, the guys are doing really well. The atmosphere is great; from the first day of the gathering, they look very good in training and commitment and behavior on and off the court. I'm sure it will lead us to play good basketball, without worrying about the result, and burdened only with one thing: to be very concentrated and think of each possession as if it were the last. The players have a lot of room for improvement, and I expect us to be better from game to game."

Pavle Marčinković is one of the national team members with the most experience: “The atmosphere is excellent. Not to forget, there are those of us who have been through a couple of cycles, so even though this is a newer and younger team, our goals, postulates, and principles are still the same. We will continue to build the result on a good defense and a strong transition back and forth. I think that we have a lot to look forward to with these young players; they play important roles in their clubs, and they are full of self-confidence.”

Twenty-year-old Lovro Gnjidić is part of the senior national team for the first time: “Coming to the senior national team, after all the younger categories, is a dream come true. The team is great, we get along great, and I think we clicked well."

When asked if he was nervous about his debut, Lovro answered: "It may be small, but I am focused, and I will do my best."

Croatia - Slovenia is scheduled for Thursday, November 25, at 20:45 in KC Dražen Petrović in Zagreb. Tickets can be purchased through ulaznice.hr and at the box office on Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm and on Thursday from 10 am until the end of halftime.

Finland - Croatia is played in Espoo, part of the metropolitan area of ​​the more famous Helsinki, on Sunday at 18:00. You can watch both matches on the SportKlub program.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 13 August 2021

Michael Jordan to Present Toni Kukoč at Basketball Hall of Fame Induction

August 13, 2021 - The legendary Michael Jordan will present Toni Kukoč at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony next month!

After it was announced in May that Toni Kukoč would be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Illinois, we learned on Thursday that one of the greatest basketball legends to live would introduce the Croatian basketballer to the Hall of Fame.

When talking about basketball greats, it's impossible to miss mentioning the legendary American basketball player and one of the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan, Kukoč's teammate on the Chicago Bulls. Jerry Reinsdorf, longtime owner of the Bulls, will join Jordan on stage with the former Croatia national team player during the ceremony on September 11, 2021, at the MassMutual Center. 

Along with Kukoč, owner of three NBA rings, the 2021 class includes Val Ackerman, Rick Adelman, Chris Bosh, Bob Dandridge, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Howard Garfinkel, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Clarence Jenkins, Pearl Moore, Paul Pierce, Bill Russell, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber, and Jay Wright.

Toni Kukoč will become the fifth Croat in the Basketball Hall of Fame after Krešimir Ćosić (1996), Dražen Petrović (2002), Mirko Novosel (2007) and Dino Rađa (2018).

Although he was a three-time NBA champion and winner of the award for the best sixth player in the strongest league globally, a league where he spent 13 years, Kukoč could not have a place in the Hall of Fame based on his NBA career. That is why he was nominated as a candidate for international basketball, and a special International Committee decides on its representative every year. It consists of seven members, and a nominee must receive six affirmative votes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

With the inclusion of Kukoč, Croatia became the country with the most representatives in the Hall of Fame after the USA. So far, it has been tied at the top with Serbia, which has four - Divac, Bora Stankovic, Aleksandar Nikolic, and Drazen Dalipagic.


Kukoč is the only basketball player in history who has not only won the European Champions Cup / Euroleague and the NBA ring three times but did so for three years in a row. During all three European titles with Jugoplastika, he was named the best player of the Final Four, winning two of the most prestigious European individual awards (Euroscar and Mister Europa) nine times. He also won four championships and two Yugoslav cups, as well as the Italian league and cup. In addition, he won the Olympic silver in Barcelona in 1992 and two European and one world bronze with the Croatia national team. He was also an Olympic silver medalist with Yugoslavia in 1988, won the world gold, two European gold, and one bronze and three gold with junior selections.

Source: HRT

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Monday, 6 April 2020

(VIDEO) On this Day 31 Years Ago, Jugoplastika Became European Champions

April 6, 2020 - While we may not have any new sport to watch on TV, for the time being, we do have the memories of our beloved teams. On this day, 31 years ago, we remember the reign of Jugoplastika in Europe. 

Time flies, but the memories remain - and some last a lifetime. For many Croatian basketball fans, the time Jugoplastika won the European title for three consecutive years (1989, 1990 and 1991) would be categorized into flashbacks worth remembering. 

Thus, on this day, April 6, 31 years ago, Jugoplastika started their championship series, reports Dalmatinski Portal.

Several anecdotes from that 1989 and making it to the Final Four in Munich have been told many times. In the company of Barcelona, Maccabi and Aris, no one mentioned Jugoplastika, let alone give the team a chance for success. Split was fourth in all books of protocol, and coach Bozidar Maljkovic said that the team had invented the word 'outsider'.

However, Jugoplastika defeated Barcelona 87:77 in the semi-final that year, and then Maccabi 75:69 in the final. Nobody slept in Split that night. More than 150,000 people took to the streets to welcome the sensational champions. Under the leadership of Bozidar Maljkovic, the first European Championship title in 1989 was won by Luka Pavicevic, Dusko Ivanovic, Toni Kukoc, Dino Rada, Goran Sobin, Zoran Sretenovic, Velimir Perasovic, Zan Tabak, Teo Cizmic and Ivica Buric.

Dino Rada published a status on his official Facebook page in 2018 about his days at Jugoplastika and this exact moment.

“I cannot give this team just one post. A little on 1989 and the European Champions Cup. As total outsiders, we were not even aware of how we got into it,” Rada began.  

“The reception in Split was something unimaginable. When the plane was landing, we could see a column of cars to the city. They would not let us leave the building because there were even more people. The airport was blocked. There were no departures or arrivals. We managed to climb the roof of the building to the airport and show the trophy to the people. 

As it was not possible to get out, they sent a bus to the ramp and to the exit where only the military planes go, and we went to the hangar on the upper road. A whole bunch of people and cars followed us. 

The entrance to the city was a spectacle. At every window of the Jugoplastika factory, there were people with flags and transparencies. All the streets were crowded. We started at 5. 

We came to the tunnel and were stopped by the police. They said you couldn’t go to the Riva. We insisted and they said that they would let us, but there is no chance that any army would allow the bus to pass.

They transferred us directly to Gripe. Today we are sorry that we could not come to the Riva. Somehow, some people managed to go to Gripe and then there was a moment I will never forget. And now, tears well my eyes. When we exited the bus, an old woman in her 70s came to us and kissed each of our hands and said, ‘Thank you kids, thank you, kids’. I have no idea who that woman was. She is probably not even alive anymore to read this, but that thought will never leave my head as long as I am alive.

In the Gripe hall again, there was madness. They thought Gripe had never been fuller and would never be that full again. If it usually fits 3,000 people, and that night was probably 5,000. They were packed in liked sardines. They all came to see the Cup. They called us one by one and when Dusko came with the trophy, there was a stampede. How we survived, I have no idea. 

Those couple of days were unbelievable. We had to wake up very quickly. We had a match against Vojvodina. For us, the game didn’t matter, but if they lost, they’d fall from the league. The trophy of the Champions Cup was in the center and they started messing around: ‘Come on, don't play one hundred percent'. Yeah, right. Who would lose with such shame,” Rada recalled.

Tor read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Saturday, 4 May 2019

Croatia Basketball in Crisis, New Coach Veljko Mršić Presents Revival Plan

Veljko Mršić was presented as the 13th Croatia men’s basketball team coach on Friday and expressed that his primary task will be to compete at the European Championship in 2021.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Rađa Remembers: European Champs Jugoplastika Welcomed in Split in 1989 (VIDEO)

“The reception in Split was something unimaginable. When the plane was landing we could see a column of cars all the way to the city.”

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Dino Rađa Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame

The Croatian basketball and sports legend has achieved basketball's highest honor. 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Dino Rađa Sends Emotional Message to Croatia's Young European Basketball Champions

Croatia’s U16 basketball team returned to Zagreb as European Champions this afternoon. 

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Selects Fourth Croatian Player - Welcome, Dino Rađa!

Dino Rađa, the Croatian basketball legend and former Boston Celtics player, has been admitted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield!