Krešimir Ćosić

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Krešimir Ćosić
Krešimir Ćosić 1970.jpg
Krešo Ćosić with Yugoslavia in 1970.
Personal information
Born (1948-11-26)November 26, 1948
Zagreb, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
Died May 25, 1995(1995-05-25) (aged 46)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality Croatian
Listed height 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight 212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
College BYU (1970–1973)
NBA draft 1973 / Round: 5 / Pick: 84th overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers
Playing career 1965–1983
Position Center
Coaching career 1984–1991
Career history
As player:
1965–1969 Zadar
1973–1976 Zadar
1976–1978 AŠK Olimpija
1978–1980 Sinudyne Bologna
1980–1983 Cibona
As coach:
1984–1985 Jugoplastika Split
1986–1988 Yugoslavia
1987–1988 Virtus Bologna
1988–1991 AEK Athens
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
FIBA Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Krešimir Ćosić (Croatian pronunciation: [krěʃimir t͡ɕɔ̌ːsit͡ɕ]; 26 November 1948 – 25 May 1995) was a Croatian[1][2][3] professional basketball player and coach. He was a collegiate All-American at Brigham Young University and represented Yugoslavia internationally.

In 1996, Ćosić became only the third international player ever elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is an inaugural member of the FIBA Hall of Fame. The Croatian Basketball Cup and KK Zadar's home arena are named after him.

Ćosić was a notable church leader and missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the deputy ambassador of Croatia to the U.S. in Washington, D.C.[4][5]

Basketball career[edit]

Ćosić was born in Zagreb, SR Croatia on 26 November 1948 to Ante and Darinka Ćosić. He was raised in Zadar, and in 1965 started his basketball career playing for KK Zadar.

He made his national team debut for Yugoslavia at the age of 17 after being called up by Ranko Žeravica, and won a silver medal at the 1967 FIBA World Championship. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, he won another silver medal. While with Zadar he won three Yugoslav League titles: 1965, 1967 and 1968.[6]

In the summer of 1968 Ćosić was in a European team with Finnish player Veikko Vainio. Vainio, a student at Brigham Young University, told him about life in college and invited him to play for BYU. Ćosić accepted this invitation and moved to the United States in 1969.[6] In his freshman year he played 12 games, averaging 17.4 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. In his sophomore year he averaged 15 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, leading BYU to the 1971 WAC Championship.

In his junior year he again led his team to the WAC Championship, averaging 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game and being awarded All-American honors by the United Press International, the first non-American player to do so. In the 1972 NBA Draft he was picked by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 10th round (144th overall) but opted to stay with BYU.

As a senior, he averaged 20.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and again was given All-American honors by the United Press International.[7] At the 1973 NBA Draft he was picked by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 5th round (84th overall).[8] He rejected several professional offers and returned home to Croatia with KK Zadar.

Ćosić played in four Summer Olympic Games: 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980 in Moscow when he led his team to the gold medal.[9] He previously led Yugoslavia to a pair of FIBA World Championship gold medals in 1970 and 1978.[10]


Following his playing days, he turned to coaching, and led the former Yugoslav team to a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and two bronze medals at the 1986 FIBA World Championship and 1987 EuroBasket.

Church life[edit]

During his time at the Brigham Young University, he converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and later served as the LDS presiding priesthood holder in post-communist Croatia. He was baptized by Hugh Nibley, one of the LDS church's most celebrated scholars. Ćosić also introduced the LDS Church to Yugoslavia. He translated the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants into Croatian. According to Nibley, Kresimir told him, "There are a hundred reasons why I should not join the Church, and only one reason why I should - because it is true." [11]


In the years following basketball he worked in the United States as a Croatian diplomat at the embassy in Washington, D.C., having helped secure the land where the embassy now stands. Ćosić died in Baltimore, Maryland in 1995 of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.[10] He was survived by his wife, Ljerka, his two daughters and his son Krešimir.[12]



  1. ^ "Croatian Basketball Hall of Fame". 
  2. ^ "The Krešimir Ćosić Hall". 
  3. ^ "Famous people born in Zadar / Krešimir Ćosić". 
  4. ^ "A Dalmatian Sensation". 5 June 1995. 
  5. ^ "National Hero". 
  6. ^ a b Stankovic, Vladimir. "Kresimir Cosic, a player ahead of his time". EuroLeague. 
  7. ^ "KRESIMIR COSIC". Brigham Young University. 
  8. ^ Lakersweb Draft
  9. ^ "The day when basketball of Zadar got the shiniest pearl". Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Krešimir Ćosić.
  11. ^ Nibley, Eloquent Witness (2008, ISBN 9781606410035), page 261.
  12. ^ Harmon, Dick (8 June 2015). "Kresimir Cosic honored in Croatia, teammate on hand for celebration". Deseret News. 

External links[edit]