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Yugoslav First Basketball League

Yugoslav Basketball League
Sport Basketball
Founded 1945
Countries 23x15px SFR Yugoslavia
Continent FIBA Europe (Europe)
Ceased 1992
Related competitions Yugoslav Basketball Cup
Level on pyramid 1st Tier
(SFR Yugoslavia)
Relegation to Yugoslav 1. B League

The Yugoslav First Basketball League (Serbo-Croatian: Prva savezna košarkaška liga) was the name of the top level basketball league played in SFR Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1991-92. The First Federal League was the top-tier league in Yugoslavia, and the Second Federal League was the second-tier league in Yugoslavia. With a total of 16 European trophy winners and 11 finalist, the Yugoslav First Basketball League, was one of the strongest basketball leagues of all times.

Although all countries founded after the breakup of Yugoslavia each now have their own national domestic leagues, each of the six nations now take part in the Adriatic League, which was founded in 2001; and which is today the closest league in existence similar to the former Yugoslav Basketball League.


After the end of Second World War in Yugoslavia in 1945, there arose a need for athletic development in the fledgling nation. Post-WW2 Yugoslavia was (with the exception of major cities such as Belgrade, Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Sarajevo) for the most part lacking in competitive opportunities in sports. In response to this, 1945 and 1946 saw an explosion of new clubs and leagues for every sport, the basketball league being part of this phenomenon.

The very first competition under the newly formed Yugoslav Basketball League in 1945, drawing parallel to the Yugoslav First League (of football), was more or less a nationwide affirmation of unity. Instead of individual clubs competing in the usual fashion, there were only eight teams. Six representing each state within Yugoslavia, one representing the province of Vojvodina, and the last representing the Yugoslav People's Army.

Only in the 1970s did the basketball culture of Yugoslavia truly come to enjoy recognition as the top nation in basketball. Breaking away from the dominance of the Soviet Union, the Yugoslav league gave rise to stars that would go on to win multiple Basketball World Championships and European Basketball Championships. After a decade of dominance, the 1980s saw a disappointing slump of talent in the Yugoslav Basketball League.

Once again the world witnessed a sleeping giant come awake in the early 90s as Yugoslavia won two straight European Basketball Championships and a World Basketball Championship. This momentum was swiftly halted by the ethnic strife which broke out in 1991. Clubs from SR Slovenia and SR Croatia withdrew from the league so that the 1991-92 season, the competition's last, was contested without them. The country got divided into five successor republics, each founding their own basketball federations with the exception of Serbia and Montenegro, which retained the name Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the YUBA League.

Despite all these changes, the joint league of clubs from the former Yugoslavia proved to be a winning league format formula, so on July 3, 2001, the Adriatic League was founded. It features teams from all the former Yugoslav states, and it exists alongside scaled-down versions of the individual national domestic leagues of each of the former Yugoslav states.

Title holders

Performance by club

Titles Club Years
12 23x15px Crvena Zvezda 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1968–69, 1971–72
6 23x15px Olimpija 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1969–70
23x15px Zadar 1965, 1967, 1967–68, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1985–86
23x15px Split 1970-71, 1976–77, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91
4 23x15px OKK Belgrade 1958, 1960, 1963, 1964
23x15px Partizan 1975-76, 1978–79, 1980–81, 1986-87
3 23x15px Bosna 1977-78, 1979–80, 1982–83
23x15px Cibona 1981-82, 1983–84, 1984–85
1 23x15px Jugoslovenska Armija 1945
23x15px Proleter Zrenjanin 1956
23x15px Radnički Belgrade 1972-73

Performance by Republic 1946-1992

Titles Republic
23 23x15px Serbia
15 23x15px Croatia
6 23x15px Slovenia
3 23x15px Bosnia and Herzegovina

Play-off Finals

Season Home court advantage Result Home court disadvantage 1st of Regular Season Record
Partizan <center>0–2 Cibona Partizan <center>18–4
<center>1982-83 Šibenka <center>1–2 Bosna Šibenka <center>16–6
<center>1983-84 Cibona <center>2–1 Crvena Zvezda Cibona <center>16–6
<center>1984-85 Cibona <center>2–1 Crvena Zvezda Cibona <center>19–3
<center>1985-86 Cibona <center>1–2 Zadar Cibona <center>21–1
<center>1986-87 Partizan <center>2–0 Crvena Zvezda Cibona <center>22–0
<center>1987-88 Jugoplastika Split <center>2–1 Partizan Jugoplastika Split <center>21–1
<center>1988-89 Partizan <center>0–2 Jugoplastika Split Partizan <center>16–6
<center>1989-90 Jugoplastika Split <center>3–1 Crvena Zvezda Jugoplastika Split <center>19–3
<center>1990-91 Pop 84 Split <center>3–0 Partizan Pop 84 Split <center>19–3

Source: official website archive[3]

Yugoslav basketball clubs in European-wide competitions 1958-1992

FIBA European Champions Cup

Split has made 3 Euroleague Final Four appearances (with 3 top 4 place finishes), has played in the Euroleague Final 4 times, and has won the Euroleague championship 3 times. Cibona has played in the Euroleague Final 2 times, and has won the Euroleague championship two times. Bosna has played in the Euroleague Final 1 time, and has won the Euroleague championship once. Partizan has made 2 Euroleague Final Four appearances, has played in the Euroleague Final once, and has won the Euroleague championship 1 time.

Club Champions Finalist Semifinalist Quarterfinalist
23x15px Split 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91 1971-72 1977-78*
23x15px Cibona 1984-85, 1985-86 1982-83*
23x15px Partizan 1991-92 1987-88 1979-80*, 1981-82*
23x15px Bosna 1978-79 1979-80*, 1980-81*, 1983-84*
23x15px OKK Belgrade 1958-59, 1963-64, 1964-65
23x15px Olimpija 1961-62, 1966-67 1959-60, 1962-63, 1970-71
23x15px Zadar 1967-68, 1974-75 1965-66, 1968-69, 1986-87*
23x15px Crvena Zvezda 1972-73 1969-70
23x15px Radnički Belgrade 1973-74

* Top 6 (semifinal group stage)

FIBA Saporta Cup

  • Yugoslav clubs that finished in the top 2 places of the now defunct Saporta Cup (1966-67 to 2001-02), which was the second-tier European-wide continental competition:
Club Champions Finalist Semifinalist Quarterfinalist
23x15px Cibona 1981-82, 1986-87 1980-81, 1983-84, 1988-89 1969-70
23x15px Crvena Zvezda 1973-74 1971-72, 1974-75 1990-91
23x15px Split 1972-73 1985-86
23x15px Radnički Belgrade 1976-77 1978-79
23x15px Olimpija 1968-69, 1982-83 1967-68
23x15px Rabotnički 1975-76
23x15px Partizan 1966-67, 1989-90
23x15px Zadar 1970-71, 1979-80
23x15px Kvarner 1977-78
23x15px IMT Belgrade 1987-88

FIBA Korać Cup

  • Yugoslav clubs that finished in the top 2 places of the now defunct Korać Cup (1971-72 to 2001-02), which was the third-tier European-wide continental competition:
Club Champions Finalist Semifinalist Quarterfinalist
23x15px Partizan 1977-78, 1978-79, 1988-89 1973-74 1974-75
23x15px Split 1975-76, 1976-77 1978-79, 1979-80
23x15px Cibona 1972 1979-80, 1987-88 1990-91
23x15px Šibenka 1981-82, 1982-83
23x15px Crvena Zvezda 1983-84 1980–81, 1981-82, 1984-85, 1987-88
23x15px Bosna 1977-78 1989-90
23x15px OKK Belgrade 1972
23x15px Zadar 1981-82, 1982-83, 1988-89 1990-91

Notable players

Award winners

See also


  1. ^ On 9 April 1983, Šibenka and Bosna played the final game that was decided in the last second: Bosna's Hadžić fouled Šibenka's Petrović, who proceeded to score two free throws that won the game. The next morning, and after re-watching video-record of the last moments of the game, and establishing that foul happened after time had already elapsed, the presidency of the Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia voided the result and ordered a rematch in Novi Sad. Šibenka decided to boycott it, and the title was awarded to Bosna.[1]


Template:Sports leagues of Yugoslavia