Yugoslavia national basketball team

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FIBA rankingDefunct
Joined FIBA1936
FIBA zoneFIBA Europe
National federationBasketball Federation of Yugoslavia
Nickname(s)Plavi (Blues)
Olympic Games
MedalsGold medal.svg Gold: 1980
Silver medal.svg Silver: 1968, 1976, 1988
Bronze medal.svg Bronze: 1984
FIBA World Cup
MedalsGold medal with cup.svg Gold 1970, 1978, 1990
Silver medal with cup.svg Silver 1963, 1967, 1974
Bronze medal with cup.svg Bronze 1982, 1986
FIBA EuroBasket
MedalsGold medal europe.svg Gold: 1973, 1975, 1977, 1989, 1991
Silver medal europe.svg Silver 1961, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1981
Bronze medal europe.svg Bronze 1963, 1979, 1987

The SFR Yugoslavian national basketball team (Serbo-Croatian: Košarkaška reprezentacija Jugoslavije / Кошаркашка репрезентација Југославије; Slovene: Jugoslovanska košarkarska reprezentanca; Macedonian: Кошаркарска репрезентација на Југославија) represented the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1943 until 1992 in international basketball matches and was controlled by the Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia (KSJ).

After World War II, the team steadily improved their rankings and came to be one of the dominant forces of world basketball in the 1970s and the 1980s, along with the United States and Soviet Union, capturing 5 Olympic medals and 8 World Cups, 13 medals in total, along with another 13 on continental level (at EuroBaskets). After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, national teams of the successor countries, particularly Serbia and Montenegro/Serbia, continued the strong performance in international competitions.

Ten FIBA Hall of Fame members emerged from the Yugoslavian national team: Krešimir Ćosić, Dražen Dalipagić, Ivo Daneu, Mirza Delibašić, Vlade Divac, Dragan Kićanović, Radivoj Korać, Toni Kukoč, Dražen Petrović and Zoran Slavnić.


The Yugoslavia team that won the 1989 FIFA EuroBasket held in Yugoslavia

At the Summer Olympic Games, Yugoslavia captured one gold medal (1980), took the silver medal on three occasions (1968, 76, 88) and captured the bronze medal once (1984).

At the FIBA World Cup, Yugoslavia captured three gold medals (1970, 1978 and 1990), three silver medals (1963, 1967, 1974) and two bronze medals (1982, 1986).

At the EuroBasket, Yugoslavia captured the gold medal five times (1973, 1975, 1977, 1989, 1991), were silver medalists on five occasions (1961, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1981), and captured the bronze medal four times (1963, 1979, 1987).

Medals table[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Summer Olympic Games
 Yugoslavia 1 3 1 5
FIBA World Cup
 Yugoslavia 3 3 2 8
FIBA EuroBasket
 Yugoslavia 5 5 3 13
Mediterranean Games
 Yugoslavia 5 1 1 7
Summer Universiade
 Yugoslavia 1 2 1 4
Grand Totals 15 14 8 37

European championships[edit]

EuroBasket 1947[edit]

Yugoslavia made its European championship debut in EuroBasket 1947, the fifth edition of the tournament. The team placed 13th out of 14 teams in the competition, losing to the Soviet Union and Hungary in the preliminary round, beating the Netherlands but losing to Italy in the semifinal round (placing third in the three-way tie between the teams), and defeating Albania in the 13th/14th classification match.

EuroBasket 1953[edit]

Yugoslavia's second appearance was at EuroBasket 1953 in Moscow. They dropped an early 27–25 decision against Bulgaria but finished at 3–1 in their preliminary group. In the three-way tie-breaker with Bulgaria and Israel, Yugoslavia ended up in second place to advance to the final round. There, they won 3 but lost 4 to take 6th place overall in the 17-team tournament.

EuroBasket 1955[edit]

Apollo Hall in Amsterdam between AMVJ and Lokomotiva from Yugoslavia (37-64) in 1955

Yugoslavia again advanced to the final round at EuroBasket 1955 in Budapest, this time in sole second place with a 3–1 record in the preliminary round pool. Their final round performance was riddled with 6 losses in 7 games, but did include the high point of a 52–49 victory over eventual silver medallist Czechoslovakia on Yugoslavia's way to an 8th-place finish of the 18 entrants.

EuroBasket 1957[edit]

Yugoslavia's appearance at the EuroBasket 1957 tournament in Sofia resulted in a 2–1 record for the preliminary round and advancement to the final round robin. There, they proved capable of two wins, defeating Poland and France to finish at 2–5 for 6th place in the tournament.

The dominant years in FIBA competition[edit]

The Yugoslav national team of the late 1980s and early 1990s featured what was perhaps the greatest generation in the history of Yugoslav basketball. A common quip about basketball is: "The Americans invented it, the Yugoslavs perfected it." With such players as Dražen Petrović, Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoč, Dino Rađa, Predrag Danilović, Žarko Paspalj and Jure Zdovc the country was responsible for a wave of international NBA players in the 1990s. Many of the former Yugoslav players of this era were a part of the under-21 national team that won the FIBA World Junior Championships in 1987, defeating the U.S. both in pool play and in the final.

The 1991 team is regarded by Antonello Riva as the best team in European history.[1]


For 1992 onwards, as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: see Serbia and Montenegro national basketball team

Player statistics[edit]

Notable players[edit]

Vlade Divac and Dražen Petrović in the 1990 FIBA World Championship held in Argentina.

Individual awards[edit]

International competitions[edit]

Other notable achievements[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

Manager history[edit]

Individual achievements[edit]

New national teams[edit]

After the dissolution of SFR Yugoslavia in 1991, five new countries were created: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, FR Yugoslavia (in 2003, renamed to Serbia and Montenegro) and Slovenia. In 2006, Montenegro became an independent nation and Serbia became the legal successor of Serbia and Montenegro. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia and became a FIBA member in 2015.

Here is a list of men's national teams on the SFR Yugoslavia area:

None of these teams is an inheritor of the results the SFR Yugoslavia national basketball team had accomplished.

After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, clubs, leagues and national teams of the successor state basketball associations continued the so-called "Yugoslav school of basketball" tradition, with some continuing to produce top results and exhibited strong performance in international competitions, both at world and continental stage. Particularly successful over the years, since break-up of former common country, was Serbia and Montenegro and now Serbia. Croatia too had some measurable success immediately after the break-up, with Slovenia winning their first ever international tournament after defeating Serbia at EuroBasket 2017. Other national teams also continued to exhibited strong performance over the years, by competing on international stage in different competitions, with Bosnia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, all qualifying regularly for EuroBasket, and other big tournaments.


  1. ^ ""Tim Jugoslavije iz 1991. je najbolji u Evropi svih vremena"". B92.

External links[edit]