TRAJKO RAJKOVIC

TRAJKO RAJKOVIC

Trajko Rajkovic was born on December 7, 1937 in Leskovac. In 1959, he joined OKK Belgrade as a medical student, very tall (210cm), somewhat clumsy and timid, a young man from whom only little could be expected. However, the then OKK Belgrade management, recognised Trajko Rajkovic as basketball “uncut diamond” and started the process of his “polishing”. Through hard work and training, in a very short period of time, Trajko stood side by side with Korac and Gordic and became star centre of OKK Belgrade, somebody who was seriously counted on. With his characteristic skyhook shot and exceptional feeling for a rebound, during the championship years of the 60s, Trajko was an unsolvable mystery for the centres of Olimpija, Partizan, Red Star, Zadar, Virtus, Cantu and Antwerpse. As a confirmation of Rajkovic’s basketball significance, and a measure of his work and success, he soon received an invitation from Professor Aca Nikolic to joint the national team. Trajko Rajkovic defended national team colours for almost a decade, from 1963 until 1970. This basketball giant carried a lot of load on his broad back, together with Ivo Daneu, Kresimir Cosic, Radivoje Korac, Petar Skansi and friends, and paved the way for the new basketball power that was rising on the old continent. At the time Trajkovic played for the national team, Yugoslavia won two European silver medals (1965 and 1969) and one bronze (1963), as well as one Olympic silver (1968).

In 1970, at the World Championship in Ljubljana, it was either due to the doctors’ mistake, as they did not take Yugoslav centre’s psycho-physical weakness after one championship game seriously enough, or because it was his fate, Trajko Rajkovic’s heart suddenly stopped beating. It was at that Championship, in Slovenia’s capital city, that Yugoslavia became World Champion for the first time. However, the national team paid dearly for its success. The nation received a great champion. It has lost no less one..

His son Vladimir and wife Biljana remained behind Trajko Rajkovic, as well as a fond memory of this giant from Leskovac, a man big in his body and heart, a basketball player who, together with his generation, wrote the history of Yugoslav basketball in gold letters.