ABA League

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ABA League JTD
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2016–17 ABA League
ABA liga jtd.jpg
ABA Liga JTD logo
Sport Basketball
Founded 2001
Inaugural season 2001–02
CEO Krešimir Novosel
No. of teams 14
Countries  Serbia
 Croatia
 Bosnia and Herzegovina

 Montenegro
 Macedonia
 Slovenia
Continent FIBA Europe (Europe)
Most recent
champion(s)
Serbia Crvena Zvezda
(2nd title) (2015–16)
Most titles Serbia Partizan (6 titles)
TV partner(s) Arena Sport
Official website [1] (English)

The ABA League JTD, commonly known as the Adriatic League, is a regional professional basketball league that originally featured clubs from the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia). In later years, the league also consisted of clubs from the Czech Republic, Israel, Hungary and Bulgaria that received wild card invitations. Due to sponsorship reasons, the league was also known as the Goodyear League from 2001 until 2006, and as the NLB League from 2006 until 2011.

The league exists alongside scaled-down national leagues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. All but one of Adriatic League clubs join their country's own competitions in late spring after the Adriatic League regular season and post-season have been completed.[citation needed]

The Adriatic League is a private venture, founded in 2001 and run by Slovenian limited liability company called Sidro. Adriatic Basketball Association is the body that organizes the league and is a full member of ULEB as well as a voting member of the Euroleague board. The competition can thus be considered a local version of the Europe-wide Euroleague, in which a few Adriatic League clubs also compete.[citation needed]

The formation of the Adriatic League has inspired similar regional competitions all over Europe such as: Baltic Basketball League (started in 2004), Central European Basketball League (2008-2010), Balkan International Basketball League (2008), and VTB United League (2008).[citation needed]

History[edit]

At various points throughout mid-to-late 1990s, in the years following the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia and ensuing Yugoslav Wars, different basketball administrators from the newly independent Balkan states floated and informally discussed the idea of re-assembling a joint basketball competition to fill the void left by the dissolution of the Yugoslav Basketball League whose last season was 1991–92.[1]

However, no concrete action towards that end was taken before the summer 2000 ULEB-supported creation of Euroleague Basketball Company under the leadership of Jordi Bertomeu that immediately confronted FIBA Europe, then proceeded to take a handful of top European clubs into its new competition for the 2000-01 season thereby opening an organizational split in European club basketball. During the 2000-01 split in the continent's top club competition, local Balkan basketball administrators from the ULEB-affiliated clubs Cibona, Olimpija, and Budućnost (that already competed in this new 'breakaway' Euroleague competition) shifted the discussions of creating a regional Balkan-wide basketball league into higher gear.[citation needed]

The 2001 establishment of the Balkan-wide regional Adriatic League meant that existing FIBA-affiliated national basketball leagues in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina underwent major re-organization with their respective top clubs leaving their domestic competitions to compete in the regional one. The ABA clubs returned in late spring for the end of the domestic season.[citation needed]

On the public relations front, Adriatic League was met with strong and mixed reactions. Though many hailed it as an important step for the development of club basketball in the Balkans region, many others felt that it brings no new quality and that it's not worth dismantling three domestic leagues. There was a lot of negative reaction from political circles, especially in Croatia, with even TV panel discussions being broadcast on Croatian state television. A very vociferous opinion in the country saw the league's formation as a political attempt to reinstate Yugoslavia.[2] The league organizers for their part did their best to appease the Croatian public with statements such as the one delivered by Radovan Lorbek in Slobodna Dalmacija in September 2001:

Ten years later, in a 2011 interview for the Serbian newspaper Press, Roman Lisac explained the league's behind the scenes strategy during its nascent stages was actually quite different:

On 28 September 2001, the league announced a five-year sponsorship deal with Slovenian company Sava Tires from Kranj, a subsidiary of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The deal also included naming rights, hence from 2001 until 2006, the competition was known as the Goodyear League.[citation needed]

Debut season[edit]

With twelve clubs taking part in the inaugural 2001–02 season, the competition commenced in fall 2001 with four teams from Slovenia, four teams from Croatia, three teams from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and one team from FR Yugoslavia. The very first game was contested in Ljubljana between Olimpija and Široki on Saturday, 29 September 2001 at 5:30pm.[6]

Though the competition purported to gather the strongest sides from former Yugoslavia, as mentioned, teams from Serbia were noticeably absent, particularly Belgrade powerhouses and biggest regional crowd draws Partizan and Crvena Zvezda. In addition to no clubs from Serbia proper, the league had no Serb-dominated clubs from Bosnia-Herzegovina either. Since the league founders mostly avoided talking about the issue due to fears of media backlash, the fact that no invitations were extended to Serbian clubs was generally explained through security issues due to organizers' fears of crowd trouble if Croatian and Serbian clubs were to start playing again in the same competition. Then in early February 2002, the public got a preview of just that when Cibona and Partizan met in Zagreb as part of that season's Euroleague group stage. In a nationalistically charged and incident-filled encounter, Croatian fans peppered the Partizan players with rocks, flares, and even ceramic tiles before physically assaulting Partizan head coach Duško Vujošević in the guest team dressing room after the game.[7]

The Adriatic League debut season was marked by dwindling attendances and lukewarm media support. Still the league did receive a bit of a shot in the arm on 24 February 2002, when its managing body ABA got accepted as full member of ULEB.[8]

Second season[edit]

For the 2002–03 season, the league remained at the total number of 12 teams, while it went through major re-tooling internally. By the time season started, four teams dropped out (Sloboda Dita, Budućnost, Triglav, and Geoplin Slovan) to be replaced by: Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, Crvena Zvezda (the first team from Serbia in the competition), the Bosnian outfit KK Borac, and Croatian club KK Zagreb.[citation needed]

It was important for the league's long term business to negotiate acceptable terms for the Serbian clubs to join the competition. To that end, Lorbek and Lisac went to Belgrade in early April 2002 with an offer of taking in three clubs from FR Yugoslavia for the Adriatic League's 2002–03 season.[9] The offer was flatly rejected initially by the representatives of five YUBA league clubs - Partizan, Crvena Zvezda, Hemofarm, FMP, and Budućnost - as their unified platform was either all five or nothing. Taking in all five required expanding the league to 14 teams, which was something the league organizers weren't prepared to do due to the associated increase in operating costs. The negotiated agreement thus fell through for the time being. However, it didn't take long for dents to appear in the unified front put forth by five YUBA league clubs - in May 2002 Crvena Zvezda's management (three businessmen close to the ruling Democratic Party in Serbia: Živorad Anđelković, Igor Žeželj, and Goran Vesić) hired Zmago Sagadin to be the club's new general manager - and soon after, in June 2002, the club broke the ranks by negotiating terms on its own thus agreeing to join the Adriatic League for the 2002–03 season.[10]

All-time participants (2001–2017)[edit]

The following is a list of clubs who have played in the Adriatic League at any time since its formation in 2001 (as Goodyear League) to the current season. Teams playing in the 2016–17 ABA League season are indicated in bold. A total of 34 teams from 10 countries have played in the Adriatic League.[citation needed]

Club 01

02
02

03
03

04
04

05
05

06
06

07
07

08
08

09
09

10
10

11
11

12
12

13
13

14
14

15
15

16
16

17
Total
seasons
Highest
finish
Bosnia and Herzegovina Borac Banja Luka 11th 13th 2 11th
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosna 12th 12th QF QF 10th 7th 13th 7 Quarter-finals
Bosnia and Herzegovina Igokea 11th SFR 6th 12th 9th TBD 6 Semi-finals
Bosnia and Herzegovina Sloboda Tuzla 5th 1 5th
Bosnia and Herzegovina Široki 6th 9th 12th 13th 11th 11th 12th 10th 9th 5th 10th 14th 12 5th
Bulgaria Levski Sofia 14th 1 14th
Croatia Cedevita 7th 7th 2nd 6th 2nd 2nd SF TBD 8 2nd
Croatia Cibona SF 5th 2ndR QF QF SF QF 2nd 2ndR 12th 7th 11th 1st 11th 8th TBD 16 1st
Croatia Split 8th 10th 9th 15th 14th 10th 10th 14th 8 8th
Croatia Šibenka 11th 1 11th
Croatia Triglav osiguranje 10th 1 10th
Croatia Zadar 7th 1st 8th QF QF 7th SF 5th 8th 14th 12th 13th 8th 6th TBD 15 1st
Croatia Zagreb 6th 11th 12th 13th 12th 11th 13th 6th 5th 9th 10 5th
Czech Republic Nymburk 8th 1 8th
Hungary Szolnoki Olaj 13th 12th 7th 3 7th
Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 2nd 1stR 2 1st
Republic of Macedonia MZT Skopje 7th 9th 13th 10th TBD 5 7th
Montenegro Budućnost 9th 5th 14th 5th QF 6th 5th SF SF 5th 5th SF SFR TBD 14 Semi-finals
Montenegro Lovćen 14th 1 14th
Montenegro Mornar TBD 1 TBD
Montenegro Sutjeska 13th 1 13th
Serbia Crvena Zvezda SFR SF SF SF 6th QF SF 9th 13th 10th 2nd SFR 1stR 1st TBD 15 1st
Serbia FMP 1st SF 1st 2ndR QF 8th 12th TBD 8 1st
Serbia Mega 8th 10th 2nd TBD 4 2nd
Serbia Metalac Valjevo 6th 11th - 2 6th
Serbia Partizan 2nd 2ndR 1st 1stR 1stR 1st 1stR SF 1st SF SF 5th TBD 13 1st
Serbia Radnički Kragujevac 11th 10th 8th SF 11th 5 Semi-finals
Serbia Vojvodina Novi Sad QF 9th 14th 3 Quarter-finals
Serbia Vršac 1stR SF SF 2nd SF SF 6th 12th 8 1st
Slovenia Helios Domžale 16th 12th 8th 13th 12th 14th 13th 7 8th
Slovenia Krka 2nd 7th 7th 11th SF 11th 9th 7th 9th 12th TBD 11 2nd
Slovenia Olimpija 1stR SF SF QF 10th 9th SF 9th SF 2nd 6th 8th 10th 5th 7th 15 1st
Slovenia Slovan 11th 10th 10th 9th 13th 14th 6 9th
Slovenia Tajfun 14th 1 14th
Slovenia Zlatorog Laško SF 8th 6th 9th 14th 14th 6 Semi-finals
  • R - Regular season champions

Competition[edit]

Competition system[edit]

As of the 2013–14 season the league comprises a 26-game regular season, with the top 4 sides making the play-offs.[11]

From 2002 through 2004, four teams qualified, and the playoffs were termed the "Final Four"; starting in 2005, eight teams advanced to the "Final Eight" round. All playoff rounds consist of one-off knockout matches, unusual among European leagues. However, since all Adriatic League clubs play in domestic leagues at the same time, and many also play in the Euroleague, the current format has the virtue of limiting fixture congestion for the playoff sides.[citation needed]

National standings[edit]

The coefficient is the sum of all victories clubs from a certain country achieve in a regular season divided by the number of clubs from that country. By using this coefficient majority of places for current season are allocated, while the remaining places are given via wild cards from league board.[12]

Country No. 2015–16 coeff. 2016–17 no. of clubs
 Montenegro 1 16.00 2
 Serbia 3 14.75 3
 Croatia 3 14.00 3
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 11.00 1
 Macedonia 1 10.00 1
 Slovenia 2 9.33 2
Total 11 best coeff. (+1) 12

Current season teams (2015–2016)[edit]

Country Teams Qualification[citation needed] Team[13] City Venue (Capacity) European participation in 2015–16 season
Serbia Serbia 4
1st in the Basketball League of Serbia KK Crvena zvezda Telekom Belgrade Hall Aleksandar Nikolić (8,150) Euroleague
2nd in the Basketball League of Serbia KK Partizan NIS Belgrade Hall Aleksandar Nikolić (8,150)
3rd in the Basketball League of Serbia KK Metalac Farmakom Valjevo Valjevo Sports Hall (2,500)
4rd in the Basketball League of Serbia KK Mega Leks Sremska Mitrovica Sports Hall Pinki (3,000)
Croatia Croatia 3
1st place in the A-1 League KK Cedevita Zagreb Dom Sportova (3,500) Euroleague
2nd place in the A-1 League KK Cibona Zagreb Dražen Petrović Basketball Hall (5,400) FIBA Europe Cup
3rd place in the A-1 League KK Zadar Zadar Krešimir Ćosić Hall (9,000)
Slovenia Slovenia 3
Champion of the 1.A SKL KK Tajfun Šentjur Golovec Hall (2,500) FIBA Europe Cup
1st place in 1.A SKL KK Krka Novo mesto Leon Štukelj Hall (3,000) FIBA Europe Cup
Wild card KK Union Olimpija Ljubljana Arena Stožice (12,480) Eurocup
Montenegro Montenegro 2
Champion of Montenegrin Basketball League KK Buducnost VOLI Podgorica Morača Sports Center (5,000) Eurocup
Wild card KK Sutjeska Nikšić Nikšić Sports Center (3,000)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 Champion of Premijer liga BiH KK Igokea Aleksandrovac Laktaši Sports Hall (3,050)
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia 1 Champion of Macedonian First League KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom Skopje Jane Sandanski Arena (7,500)

Title holders[edit]

Finals[edit]

Year Final Semifinals
Champion Score Second place
2001–02
Details
Slovenia
Union Olimpija
73–59 Slovenia
Krka
Slovenia
Pivovarna Laško
Croatia
Cibona VIP
2002–03
Details
Croatia
Zadar
91–88 Israel
Maccabi Elite
Serbia and Montenegro
Crvena Zvezda
Slovenia
Union Olimpija
2003–04
Details
Serbia and Montenegro
Reflex FMP
71–70 Croatia
Cibona VIP
Serbia and Montenegro
Crvena Zvezda
Slovenia
Union Olimpija
2004–05
Details
Serbia and Montenegro
Hemofarm
89–76 Serbia and Montenegro
Partizan Pivara MB
Serbia and Montenegro
Reflex FMP
Serbia and Montenegro
Crvena Zvezda
2005–06
Details
Serbia and Montenegro
FMP
73–72 Serbia and Montenegro
Partizan
Serbia and Montenegro
Crvena Zvezda
Serbia and Montenegro
Hemofarm
2006–07
Details
Serbia
Partizan
2–0
(83–85 / 94–82)
Serbia
FMP
Croatia
Cibona VIP
Serbia
Hemofarm
2007–08
Details
Serbia
Partizan Igokea
69–51 Serbia
Hemofarm
Slovenia
Union Olimpija
Croatia
Zadar
2008–09
Details
Serbia
Partizan
63–49 Croatia
Cibona VIP
Serbia
Crvena Zvezda
Serbia
Hemofarm
2009–10
Details
Serbia
Partizan
75–74 (OT) Croatia
Cibona VIP
Serbia
Hemofarm
Slovenia
Union Olimpija
2010–11
Details
Serbia
Partizan
77–74 Slovenia
Union Olimpija
Montenegro
Budućnost m:tel
Slovenia
Krka
2011–12
Details
Israel
Maccabi Electra
87–77 Croatia
Cedevita
Montenegro
Budućnost VOLI
Serbia
Partizan mt:s
2012–13
Details
Serbia
Partizan mt:s
71–63 Serbia
Crvena Zvezda Telekom
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Igokea
Serbia
Radnički Kragujevac
2013–14
Details
Croatia
Cibona
72–59 Croatia
Cedevita
Serbia
Crvena Zvezda Telekom
Serbia
Partizan
2014–15
Details
Serbia
Crvena Zvezda Telekom
3–1
play–off
Croatia
Cedevita
Serbia
Partizan NIS
Montenegro
Budućnost VOLI
2015–16
Details
Serbia
Crvena Zvezda Telekom
3–0
play–off
Serbia
Mega Leks
Montenegro
Budućnost VOLI
Croatia
Cedevita

Titles by club[edit]

Rank Club Titles Runner-up Champion Years
1. Serbia Partizan 6 2 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13
2. Serbia FMP 2 1 2003–04, 2005–06
3. Serbia Crvena Zvezda 2 1 2014–15, 2015–16
4. Croatia Cibona 1 3 2013–14
5. Slovenia Olimpija 1 1 2001–02
6. Serbia Vršac 1 1 2004–05
7. Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 1 1 2011–12
8. Croatia Zadar 1 2002–03
9. Croatia Cedevita 3
10. Slovenia Krka 1
11. Serbia Mega Leks 1

Titles by country[edit]

Rank Country Titles Runners-up
1. Serbia Serbia 11 6
2. Croatia Croatia 2 6
3. Slovenia Slovenia 1 2
4. Israel Israel 1 1

Individual awards[edit]

Adriatic League records[edit]

Source:[14]

Players

Clubs

All-time leaders[edit]

From the 2001–02 to the 2014–15 season:[citation needed]

Accumulated
Points Croatia Siniša Štemberger 2472
Rebounds Republic of Macedonia Todor Gečevski 1314
Assists Croatia Jakov Vladović 711
Steals Slovenia Nebojša Joksimović 355
Blocks Montenegro Slavko Vraneš 272
Index Ratings Republic of Macedonia Todor Gečevski 3212
Games Played Serbia Čedomir Vitkovac 300

Notable players[edit]

Well-known basketball players who have played in the Adriatic League include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mitrović: Bogosavljev je dao ideju;Press, 11 July 2011
  2. ^ Jadranska liga ili samoubistvo pod obručima;NSPM, 31 December 2008
  3. ^ Deset godina NLB lige: Kako je Partizan gurnut u Jadran;Press, 15 July 2011
  4. ^ Jadranska liga donosi košarkašku REVOLUCIJU!;Slobodna Dalmacija, 28 Septembar 2001
  5. ^ Lisac: Jadranska liga bi propala bez Srba;Press, 23 July 2011
  6. ^ Deset godina NLB lige: Huligani odložili ulazak Partizana;Press, 12 July 2011
  7. ^ Deset godina NLB lige: Huligani odložili ulazak Partizana;Press, 12 July 2011
  8. ^ Deset godina Jadranske lige: Košarka nas je održala;Press, 10 July 2011
  9. ^ Deset godina NLB lige: Zvezdin izlazak na Jadran;Press, 13 July 2011
  10. ^ Deset godina NLB lige: Zvezdin izlazak na Jadran;Press, 13 July 2011
  11. ^ "ADRIATIC LEAGUE - Players showing off World Cup credentials". FIBA. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "National Standings". abaliga.com. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "Adriatic League: Teams". Game Center. FIBA. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "ABA League – interesting facts and figures". abaliga.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 

External links[edit]