Biography of Mirza Delibasic (1954-2001)

Bosnian basketball player, born in Tuzla on January 9, 1954 and passed away on 8 December 2001 in Sarajevo. Acting in the position of base or the escort, the magic of this basketball player, 1'97 m of height, permeated every one of their actions to the point of raising a simple game, basketball, to the category of art, by the mixture of precision, beauty and talent with which Mirza decorated his game. Relentless shooter from long distance, with some impressive fundamentals of dribbling and boat, Delibasic was also privileged by his vision of the game, which, together with its altruism, provoked to hand out some of the most beautiful sport of basket assists. Before the NBA Earvin Magic Johnson gave passes in the back looking to the other side, the genius of Tuzla already made them.

The Prince of European Basketball

Delibasic was born in a Bosnian family of Muslim confession. While he/she professed not too much the religion of their parents, they must feel a premonition to baptize his son as Mirza, which in Arabic means 'Prince'. The small Mirza already highlighted as an athlete in his childhood, since twelve years he/she managed was proclaimed champion child of the then Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the form of... tennis. Indeed, the rackets were first Delibasic sporting companion, although the cold of their native Tuzla made most of its training in indoor track; that's where Mirza, for the greater glory of the orange ball, discovered the sport that you would catapult to the Olympus of Fame. With fourteen years he/she made his debut in the modest Sloboda Tuzla and quickly began to emerge in Championships local, as in 1970, when he/she clinched the team of the Republic of Bosnia to the Yugoslav Championship in Cadet category. In 1972, Delibasic was part of the junior team Yugoslav who won the gold medal in the European Junior Championship, being the leader of this group and its most outstanding player, which opened the door to leave the modest Sloboda Tuzla and joining the Bosna of Sarajevo. By then, it was already known throughout Yugoslavia with the nickname of Kindje.

In the Bosnian capital team became one of the best players in the competitive Yugoslav League, Partizan Belgrade and dominated the Jugoplastika Split. Delibasic then played eaves and obtained half extraordinary scorer (29 points per game in the 1975-76 season), but the titles were falling on the side of the powerful clubs in Belgrade. Yugoslav national coach, the Croatian Mirko Novosel, was immediately captivated the Bosnian guard play, so called for the first team that would compete in the 1975 European Championship, held precisely in Belgrade. Yugoslavia won the gold medal and precise shots Delibasic helped greatly to this triumph, which continued the victorious path of plavi selection in the international events. Interestingly, in this Championship it withdrew from the national team one of the fabulous Yugoslav talents of the basket, Nikola Plecas eave; Delibasic took the generational and occupied the post of Plecas to form part of one of the largest in the history of basketball teams: the Yugoslavian selection of great geniuses, such as Zoran Slavnic, Cresimir Cosic, Dragan Kicanovic, Drazen Dalipagic, Damir Solman and Rajko Zizic. The following year, at the Olympic Games of Montreal ' 76, only the lavish American selection which, under the command of Dean Smith, was armed for forgetting the Olympic shame of Munich ' 72, could beat Yugoslavia, although Delibasic got her second silver medal, in this case, in his second call with the senior team.

With regard to the domestic competition, the then-coach of Bosna of Sarajevo, Bogdan Tanjevic, began to give minutes of play to Delibasic as base, which, coupled with the arrival of the pivot Zarko Varajic, had repercussions on a general improvement of the game of Bosna, immediately become the baloncestistica alternative to teams from Belgrade. With Mirza in command of operations, its media annotation is not resented (between 25 and 26 points on average), but that fellow benefited from his magical assistance. By that time, Delibasic used to frequently score 40 or even 50 points in some parties, when basketball FIBA there was no 3-point basket. Taking into account that much of the foreign releases of the Bosnian wing are produced from far distances, would be unimaginable to where his offensive production in case of having this rule could have come. Thanks to his offensive contribution, the Bosna of Sarajevo broke out with force in the Yugoslav League, beating Partizan Belgrade and tying triumphs with the Jugoplastika in Split, in such a way that it was necessary to play a match tiebreaker between both sets in neutral track. Finally, the Jugoplastika was proclaimed League champion, with a basket of Damir Solman at the last second.

After win a new Gold Medal with Yugoslavia at the European Championship of Liège ' 77, the 1977-78 season meant the consecration of Delibasic as the best basketball player from Yugoslavia, leading to the Bosna of Sarajevo to the doublet: champion of Cup and League champion. Kindje, in addition to get back at the end of the previous year, gave samples of his competitive nature: 21 March 1978 he/she played in Banja Luka the final of the Korac Cup between the Bosna of Sarajevo and Partizan Belgrade, which fell into the hands of the capital team of Yugoslavia. A week later, the Bosna should pay visit to Belgrade in the penultimate round of the domestic League, at a meeting in which both played the title. Delibasic was not willing to allow a new stumbling block and ended the hegemony of the Partizan in a memorable match, where he/she scored 36 points against a hostile environment to give victory to the Bosna and avenge the defeat of Banja Luka that occurred a week earlier. As the culmination, in the Philippines ' 78 World Cup, Delibasic proclaimed world champion by defeating Yugoslavia in the final of the Championship to the no less powerful selection of the USSR. The own Soviet coach, Alexander Gomelski, did not hesitate to praise the game's Delibasic and designate him as the best player on the continent. As a sign of the immense value of the Bosnian, it is worth a significant detail: when NBA Professional League just paying attention to European players, considering them distinctly inferior to the Americans, the different Scouts moved to Manila did not hesitate to point out that the only one with real opportunities to participate therein was precisely Mirza Delibasic.

In the 1978-79 season, Delibasic transferred their status as best Yugoslav player internationally, as he/she became the master of the continent. Although the Bosna could not defend the national title, the Sarajevo club was crowned European champion to be beaten by 96-93 to the intractable Italian set of the Emerson of Varese, Dino Meneghin and Bob Morse's figures, in one of the most memorable matches in the history of basketball: the final of the European Cup finals on April 5, 1979 in Grenoble. Delibasic, playing base, scored 30 points, to which must be added most of the 45 points encestados by Varajic, who benefited from Mirza lethal passes before the double marks the Italian ensemble performed on it, in a sterile attempt to cancel their game. Despite Yugoslav basketball tradition, and also despite the fact that the plavi dominated the European Championships from Barcelona ' 73, was the Bosna of Sarajevo, from the hand of Delibasic, the first Yugoslav club to reach the maximum continental scepter, ending the hegemony that the Spanish teams (Real Madrid), Soviet (Moscow TSKA) and Italians (Varese, Milan...) remained in this competition.

In the summer of 1979, Delibasic and fellow selection had to settle for the bronze medal at the Turin European ' 79, to be defeated in the semi-finals by the USSR in what was the first Soviet victory against Yugoslavia in 13! years. In the 1979-80 season, again Delibasic again crowned as the most great, making to the Bosna of Sarajevo Yugoslav League champion and most impossible Summit: Moscow ' 80 Olympic gold. It is necessary to say that United States not competed in the quotation by the boycott of Washington games, and that the great favorite, the USSR, was surprisingly the final apeada by the Olympic runner-up, Italy. But it is no less true that Yugoslavia crowned an impressive sporting career in basketball from the hand of a unique generation of basketball players.

The 1980-81 season, the last which Delibasic played in the Bosna, ended with bittersweet: Partizan returned to impose its law in the domestic competition, while at the Bosna had joined another of the large Bosnian players, Emir Mutapcic eave. On the other hand, the genius of Tuzla returned to get the gold medal at the Prague European ' 81. At the end of the Balkan championship, Real Madrid succeeded in getting their services not unhindered, since the then Communist Yugoslavia was prohibited to athletes to leave the country before the age of 28 years and Mirza one, missing but served as a national hero to be able to overlap this issue. The club white, in a move that would later repeat with another unforgettable Balkan player, Drazen Petrovic, was trying to avoid so Kindje points even Real Madrid qualify for titles, as it was the case of the European Cup in 1979, where Delibasic, with a prodigious display of 44 points in the city Sports PavilionHe moved to the team from Madrid final.

Spanish League (then organized by the Federation and not by the still unborn ACB) lacked competitiveness and, through the days to double back, only the bifid Real Madrid-Barcelona clash resulted in deciding the winner. The catalan team took the victory in the Madrid Pavilion during the first round, with a strong performance from its American reinforcement, Marcellus Starks, but in return visit, Delibasic was a true great of the game in the Palau Blaugrana (26 points), gave the victory to his team, and road, won his first title of League in Spain. Had no luck Delibasic on the European Cup, where another madridista abroad (in the Spanish League rules only allowed one), the American Joe Chrnelich, was an absolute fiasco and lastró your team options. In the Championship of the world of Colombia ' 82, Yugoslavia fell a rung by having to settle for the bronze medal, defeating in the consolation final precisely selecting Spanish by 117-113, in a controversial match by the arbitral decisions but where Delibasic, again, became the nightmare of its defenders. The ' 82 World Cup was the last presence of Kindje in the Yugoslavian selection: in its 175 international matches, Yugoslavia won 147, a stratospheric brand.

In the 1982-83 season, Delibasic told with the help of another compatriot of yours, Drazen Dalipagic, to try the assault on the European Cup, although the increasingly powerful Italian teams again closed its passage. In the Spanish competition, the new challenge of beating Barcelona ended bizarre way, that may have been the most surprising Spanish League history: to be matched to wins, and not to be sufficient points difference, no particular factor could decant the title, so it was decided that, exceptionally, the winner out of a singular duela real end of League, between the two teams. The match, played at Oviedo on April 7, 1983, ended with victory of Barcelona (76-70), in which PPE, with an extraordinary defense, overturned to Delibasic and is became the executioner of whites with a prodigious performance in attack. Madridistas internal circles, as well as always biting the capital press, pointed to Delibasic as the culprit of this failure, which was so, in a way that did not deserve, the great Bosnian player was dismissed from the club and left by the back door.

This sad situation was only the prelude of the cruel fate that awaited in the life of Delibasic. After leaving Spain, his friend and countryman Bogdan Tanjevic had managed to convince him to play for the Italian team of Caserta during the 1983-84 season. in training prior to the start of the season, Mirza Delibasic suffered a stroke that just doesn't end with his life. Medical records, it had to withdraw from the basketball with just 29 years old, when he/she still had many baskets by dunk and when, in Caserta, had formed the most explosive in the history of basketball scorer couple, since team-mate would be immeasurable Óscar, the great Brazilian marksman.

Away from active practice, he/she returned to Sarajevo with his family. There he/she continued linked to the quarry of the Bosna, helping the lower categories of his club for the formation of a new generation of talents, which include Pedrag Danilovic and Nenad Markovic. Unfortunately, another Dodge of fate would prune these young people: the Yugoslav civil war (1991-1996), in which the old Balkan country split in pieces through the weapons and suffering. Mirza Delibasic saw worsen their health by leaps every time that the war had been ahead to friends and loved ones. Life was so macabre, for him and for others, given the appalling circumstance that the athlete he/she had surely applauded all combatants in the fratricidal conflict was forced to change shoes military boots, the Park by the trenches and the basketball by the rifle ball. As a Bosnian Army Colonel, Delibasic was constantly pursued by the Serbian authorities, who considered him a traitor to the fatherland. Only on one occasion returned to be seen by the accustomed baloncestisticos scenarios: when accompanied to the selection of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a coach Assistant at the Eurobasket in Germany ' 93. In 1996, after the end of the war, Delibasic continued linked to the Bosnian basketball as technical Director of the Bosna, but his health was already very precarious for cancer suffering, which forced him to spend large periods of time in the hospital in Sarajevo. In April of 2001, the International Olympic Committee awarded him with the Medal of the Olympic order, in a tribute that came his son Darius, born from his first marriage and followed his steps as a player of Belgrade's red star basketball, as well as his current wife, Slamica Suka, and their small son, Danko.

His death, which occurred on 8 December 2001, paralyzed the country that venerated him as a myth by not wanting to leave Sarajevo during the Serb shelling. He/She was decreed official mourning by the Government and his funeral was attended by more than 10,000 people, in what was another sign of affection and admiration that Delibasic woke up among his countrymen. All those who saw him play, all those who were able to enjoy their unthinkable passes, his shooting distant shots, its acrobatic balancing act and, ultimately, become sport art, basketball was orphan of magic since its withdrawal, from the day on which the fragile health of the Prince prevented him from continue teaching his proverbial wisdom between two boards. Before its vicissitudes and his sad end, it must prevail the image of a Prince who with the ball in his hands, was able to start the viewer that tremendous mixture of feelings, admiration and surprise, excitement and joy, perfection and audacity, that only the greatest tempers are able to delight those who enjoy his art: so was Kindje.

Links on the Internet

http://www.kkbosna.com/eng/mirza.htm; Official website of the Bosna Basketball Club from Sarajevo, with information about Mirza Delibasic (in English). http://sport.xbosnia.com/bio/mirza_delibasic.php; Sports page with a complete biography about Mirza Delibasic (in Serbo-Croatian).