January 9, 1954|
Tuzla, PR Bosnia and Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia
|Died||December 8, 2001
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Listed height||1.97 m (6 ft 5 1⁄2 in)|
|Listed weight||87 kg (192 lb)|
|NBA draft||1976 / Undrafted|
|1993–1994||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Career highlights and awards|
|FIBA Hall of Fame as player|
Mirza Delibašić (January 9, 1954 – December 8, 2001) was a Yugoslav and Bosnian professional basketball player. He was born in Tuzla, located in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the former Yugoslavia. Delibašić is widely considered as one of the best shooters in the history of European basketball.
Mirza Delibašić, nicknamed Kinđe, led his club Bosna to the EuroLeague Championship in 1979. He played his first games at age of 15 for KK Sloboda Dita, Tuzla's basketball club. Three years later, 1971, he signed a contract with KK Bosna. After leaving Bosna, Delibašić went to the Spanish League, where he ended up being considered one of the best players ever to play for Real Madrid, along with the likes of Juan Corbalán, Wayne Brabender, Fernando Martín Espina, Fernando Romay, Dražen Petrović, and Arvydas Sabonis.
In his club career, he won numerous titles in European club competitions. In addition to having played together for their Yugoslav national team, Mirza Delibašić and Dražen Dalipagić, also played together with Real Madrid. Their performance in a 1983 EuroLeague game versus Cibona, in Zagreb, is only one of the many highlights of their careers.
In that game, Delibašić scored 26 points and Dalipagić 33. The game appropriately finished with a two-on-one fast-break, with Delibašić making a behind-the-back fake pass to Dalipagić, and passing by a defender for a two-handed dunk at the buzzer. Cibona's fans put aside their team's loss in the game, and showed their appreciation for the Bosnian stars performances, with a standing ovation at the end of the game.
En route to a place among the greatest European players, Mirza Delibašić won everything there was to win with the Yugoslavia national basketball team, including: the Summer Olympic Games gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics, EuroBasket gold two times (1975 EuroBasket and 1977 EuroBasket), and the FIBA World Cup gold at the 1978 FIBA World Championship.
In August 1983, Delibašić suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage, and he had to permanently retire from the sport he loved. He lived in Sarajevo throughout the 1992-1996 siege of the city. Delibašić coached Bosnian national basketball team at EuroBasket 1993, when they ended up in 8th place. His final years were marked by persistent health problems, due to his heavy drinking, which led to his death in 2001, at the age of 47, in Sarajevo. Thousands attended his funeral in Sarajevo, and Bosna Royal renamed its arena, in his honor.
Awards and accomplishments
- 2x Yugoslav League Champion: (1978, 1980)
- Yugoslav Cup Champion: (1978)
- EuroLeague Champion: (1979)
- Club World Cup Champion: (1981)
- Spanish League Champion: (1982)
- FIBA's 50 Greatest Players: (1991)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina Sportsman of the 20th century: (2000)
- FIBA Hall of Fame: (2007)
- 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors: (2008)