Obradović as head coach of Fenerbahçe in 2013.
March 9, 1960 |
Čačak, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia
|NBA draft||1982 / Undrafted|
|Career highlights and awards|
As head coach:
Želimir "Željko" Obradović (Serbian Cyrillic: Желимир Жељко Обрадовић; born March 9, 1960) is a Serbian professional basketball head coach for Fenerbahçe 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 a head coach of the Yugoslavian national basketball team, most notably the 1997 FIBA European Championship and the 1998 FIBA World Championship. In addition to lot of trophies he has won, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors in 2008.
Over the summer 1984, 24-year-old Obradović joined Partizan. He was brought in by Partizan's incoming head coach Moka Slavnić and vice president Dragan Kićanović, both recent retirees 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.
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.
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.
Obradović's coaching career began quite suddenly in summer 1991 while he was still an active 31-year-old player at KK Partizan getting ready for EuroBasket 1991 with the Yugoslav national team. Selected and coached by Dušan Ivković, that national squad was to be captained by 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 management — 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 Partizan head coaching job, 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 1990-91 season playing for Vojvodina.
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.
In early July 2013, Obradović signed a two-year contract with Fenerbahçe, reportedly worth €3 million in salary over the contract period. 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 was eliminated in the Euroleauge in the Top 16 stage. He has also won the Turkish Super Cup.
On May 25, 2015, he signed a two-year extension with Fenerbahçe, after leading team to the 2015 Final Four, for the first time in the club's history. The following year, they were runner-ups, losing in the final game of the 2016 Final Four to CSKA Moscow.
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. At Panathinaikos, from 2004 onwards, he made power forward Mike Batiste and guard Dimitris Diamantidis the focal points of this pick-and-roll setup.
Revered San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has been a longtime admirer of Obradović's coaching style, frequently praising him 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.
- Korać Cup: 1 (with Partizan: 1988-89)
- Yugoslav League: 1 (with Partizan: 1986-87)
- Yugoslav Cup: 1 (with Partizan: 1988-89)
- Euroleague Final Four – 3rd place with Partizan: 1987-88
- Yugoslav National Team:
- European Cups (10x):
- National Championships (14x):
- National Cups (9x):
- National Super Cups (2x):
- Euroleague Final Four without winning (7x)
Titles by club
- Partizan (1991–93):
- Joventut Badalona (1993–94):
- Real Madrid (1994–1997):
- Benetton Treviso (1997–99):
- Panathinaikos (1999–2012):
- Fenerbahçe (2013–):
- FR Yugoslavia National Team (1995–00)
- FIBA.com SCG – Obradovic returns to helm of Serbia & Montenegro.
- "Fenerbahce officially name Zeljko Obradovic head coach". Sportando. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Obradović zvanično u Fenerbahčeu". b92.net (in Serbian). Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Zvanično: Obradović produžio ugovor". b92.net (in Serbian). 25 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Avdić, Edin (24 March 2015). "Njih 30 miliona i Željko". mondo.rs. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- Mitnick, AJ (8 May 2014). "Mitnick: Obradovic too brash to coach in the NBA? Ridiculous". Sheridan Hoops. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- Whittell, Ian (12 November 2007). "10 reasons to watch the Euroleague". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- from San Antonio Express-News (15 October 2007). "Panathinaikos' Schemes Intrigue Popovich". RealGM. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- Laurie, Kenny (13 October 2014). "Obradovic shows his players San Antonio Spurs blueprint". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Željko Obradović.|
- Željko Obradović at euroleague.net
- Željko Obradović at paobc.gr
- Interview – Željko Obradović; Vreme, 12 February 2004 (Serbian)
- Zeljko Obradovic - More than a coach - Euroleague Documentary Series