Dusan Ivkovic, a Serbian basketball coach who led Yugoslavia to the 1990 world title and won two EuroLeague titles with Greek club Olympiakos, has died. He was 77.
The Serbian basketball federation said Ivkovic died Thursday. Serbian media reported that he died in a Belgrade hospital after lung failure.
Ivkovic led the “white dream team” to the world title in Argentina in 1990, shortly before Yugoslavia’s civil war and breakup. The team comprised several future NBA stars, including Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac. Ivkovic’s team beat the Mike Krzyzewski-led United States 99-91 in the semifinals — the last time the Americans fielded a team of college players at a major tournament.
Ivkovic led several club teams during his 46-year coaching career, including Partizan Belgrade, CSKA Moscow and five different Greek teams, winning more than a dozen titles. Besides the world title, Ivkovic led his home country to the silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and to three EuroBasket continental titles. He later coached the Serbian national team.
He ended his career in 2016 after coaching Turkish club Anadolu Efes.
Ivkovic, who was known as Duda, was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017 and named a EuroLeague Basketball Legend the same year.
“Rest in Peace, Duda!” FIBA EuroBasket wrote on Twitter.
After his retirement, Ivkovic remained active as a manager in a local Belgrade basketball team, Radnicki, where he started as a player in 1958.
“Basketball is not part of my life,” Ivkovic once said, “it is my life.”
Basketball News Lead NBA Draft Analyst Matt Babcock wrote a tribute to Ivkovic:
I am saddened to hear the news of the passing of Hall-of-Fame coach Dušan “Duda” Ivković. Years ago in Belgrade, Serbia, I had the chance to join a group of basketball coaches and scouts for dinner, which included Duda. While at dinner, I remember him sharing a wide variety of stories, including his time coaching star players Dražen Petrović and Toni Kukoč before they came to the NBA. He also discussed some of his coaching philosophies, in addition to various things about Serbian basketball, history and culture. He possessed a wealth of knowledge and experience. As a young guy pursuing a career in basketball, I hung on to every word he said. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to spend time and learn from a true coaching legend like Duda. He will certainly be missed. Rest in peace, Coach.
BasketballNews.com sends its condolences to the Ivkovic family and his loved ones at this difficult time.