Željko Obradović

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Željko Obradović
Željko Obradović'13 cropped.jpg
Obradović as head coach of Fenerbahçe in 2013.
Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul
Position Head coach
League Turkish League
Euroleague
Personal information
Born (1960-03-09) March 9, 1960 (age 55)
Čačak, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia
Nationality Serbian
Career information
NBA draft 1982 / Undrafted
Pro career 1980–1991
Position Point guard
Career history
As player:
1980–1984 Borac Čačak
1984–1991 Partizan
As coach:
1991–1993 Partizan
1993–1994 Joventut Badalona
1994–1997 Real Madrid
1997–1999 Treviso (Benetton)
1999–2012 Panathinaikos
2013–present Fenerbahçe
Career highlights and awards

As player:

As head coach:

Želimir "Željko" Obradović (Serbian Cyrillic: Желимир Жељко Обрадовић; born March 9, 1960) is a Serbian professional basketball head coach for Fenerbahçe Ülker of the Turkish Basketball League. He is also a former professional basketball player. He is generally considered one of the best European coaches ever, having won eight Euroleague titles with four different clubs. In addition to his success at the club level, he has won major trophies as Serbian national basketball team head coach, such as the 1997 FIBA European Championship and the 1998 FIBA World Championship.

In 2008, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors.

Early life[edit]

He was born March 9, 1960, in Čačak, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia.

Playing career[edit]

Obradović started his career as a basketball player with Borac Čačak where he ended up playing 4 senior seasons from 1980 until 1984 as a point guard.

Partizan[edit]

Over the summer 1984, 24-year-old Obradović joined Partizan despite reportedly being a fan of their bitter rivals Red Star Belgrade.[1] He got brought in by Partizan's incoming head coach Moka Slavnić and vice-president Dragan Kićanović, both recent retirees from playing who starred on the Yugoslav national team as the legendary guard duo.

In Obradović's third season with the team, the team won the 1986–87 Yugoslav League title. The next season they reached the 1987-88 European Champions Cup Final Four. Finally, they won the Yugoslavian Cup and the Korać Cup in 1989. During this period of time, he established himself as one of the best and reliable point guards in Yugoslavia.

He was also a member of the Yugoslavian national basketball team that won the silver medal at the 1988 Olympics Basketball Tournament and the gold medal at the 1990 FIBA World Championship.

His playing career was put to a halt when he was sentenced two years in prison after causing the death of a pedestrian in a car accident. After serving his prison sentence, Obradović returned to the court as a player, and already in his latter days as a player he coached Partizan's youth team. He retired from playing basketball in 1991 and immediately signed as the head coach of the senior team of the club.

Playing achievements[edit]

also

Coaching career[edit]

Obradović's greatness as a basketball head coach is fully confirmed by the great collection of titles he has acquired in his seventeen-year career as a coach: a record eight pro sports club European Champions Cups (with four different teams), two Saporta Cups, numerous domestic league championships and cups, the silver medal at the 1996 Olympics Basketball Tournament, the gold medal at the 1997 FIBA European Championship, the gold medal at the 1998 FIBA World Championship, and the bronze medal at the 1999 FIBA European Championship while coaching the FR Yugoslavian national basketball team, where he was the head coach from 1996–00. He was also the head coach of the Serbia and Montenegro national basketball team in 2004–05.[2]

Partizan[edit]

Obradović's coaching career began quite suddenly in summer 1991 while he was still an active player getting ready for EuroBasket 1991 with the Yugoslav national team. Selected and coached by Dušan Ivković, the team was to be captained by the 31-year-old Obradović, the oldest player among the assembled group. However, after finishing the training camp in Poreč and coming back to Belgrade to sleep over before leaving in the morning for a preparation friendly tournament in Germany, Obradović got called in for a meeting with the Partizan people — club president Radojica Nikčević, vice-president Dragan Kićanović as well as board members Đorđe "Siske" Čolović, Milorad "Miketa" Đurić, and Dragan Todorić — who convinced him to take over the head coaching job at Partizan, which entailed retiring from playing effective immediately thus giving up a chance to captain the national team at the upcoming EuroBasket.

The idea was to have Obradović, a debutante head coach, work under the guidance of experienced elder statesman of Yugoslav basketball, 67-year-old professor Aca Nikolić whose coaching advisory services were soon secured by Kićanović and the management team. Also joining the club's front office in the technical director capacity was another fresh retiree from playing, 31-year-old Milenko Savović, Obradović's longtime teammate at Partizan who spent the previous season playing for Vojvodina.

Panathinaikos[edit]

He was the head coach of Panathinaikos from 1999 to 2012, leading the team to become the top club in European club basketball during that time, while simultaneously maintaining the club at the top position in the Greek national championship. In total, Obradović won 11 Greek Championships, 7 Greek Cups and 5 Euroleague titles (2000, 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011) with the "Greens". In 2007, he achieved winning the highly coveted Triple Crown championship for the second time as a head coach (the first was in 1992 with Partizan) and won the Euroleague Coach of the Year award. Also in 2009, in Berlin, he completed this achievement as head coach for the third time. In 2011 he won his 8th Euroleague trophy with Panathinaikos. His list of titles is unmatched by any other current European coach.

Fenerbahçe[edit]

In early July 2013, Obradović signed a two-year contract with Fenerbahçe Ülker,[3] reportedly worth 3 million in salary over the contract period.[4] Inheriting a roster with point guard Bo McCalebb and versatile shooting guards / small forwards Bojan Bogdanović and Emir Preldžić, the famous head coach added a pair of marquee forwards, Linas Kleiza and Nemanja Bjelica. He additionally signed Luka Žorić and Melih Mahmutoğlu as well as talented youngsters Ömer Faruk Yurtseven and Kenan Sipahi.

Obradović won the domestic championship with Fenerbahçe during his first season, but eliminated from Euroleauge in the Top 16 stage. He also won the Turkish Super Cup.[5]

Coaching achievements[edit]

also

Coaching titles by club[edit]

Obradović coaching Panathinaikos in November 2007. In his 13 seasons at the helm, he led them to 23 trophies.

Coaching style[edit]

Well-known for his temperamental approach, Obradović often utilized a system heavy on pick-and-rolls, focusing on using the corners and back passes to open up the offense and make it more difficult for the defense to commit.[6] At Panathinaikos, from 2004 onwards, he made power forward Mike Batiste and guard Dimitris Diamantidis the focal points of this pick-and-roll setup.[7]

Revered San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has been a longtime admirer of Obradović's coaching style, frequently praising him[8][9] and admitting to "stealing his plays". In turn, Obradović, ahead of his second season coaching Fenerbahce talked about spending a significant portion of the summer 2014 off-season dissecting the San Antonio game, particularly positioning and ball movement, with a view of implementing it in his team.[10][6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kićanović je veliki zvezdaš;Tempo, 1990
  2. ^ FIBA.com SCG – Obradovic returns to helm of Serbia & Montenegro.
  3. ^ "Fenerbahce officially name Zeljko Obradovic head coach". Sportando. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Obradović zvanično u Fenerbahčeu". b92.net (in Serbian). Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  5. ^ http://www.fenerbahce.org.tr/fbulker/kategori.asp?ContentCategoryID=42
  6. ^ a b Avdić, Edin (24 March 2015). "Njih 30 miliona i Željko". mondo.rs. Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  7. ^ Mitnick, AJ (8 May 2014). "Mitnick: Obradovic too brash to coach in the NBA? Ridiculous". Sheridan Hoops. Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  8. ^ Whittell, Ian (12 November 2007). "10 reasons to watch the Euroleague". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  9. ^ from San Antonio Express-News (15 October 2007). "Panathinaikos' Schemes Intrigue Popovich". RealGM. Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  10. ^ Laurie, Kenny (13 October 2014). "Obradovic shows his players San Antonio Spurs blueprint". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2015-03-25. 

External links[edit]