FOREWORD...

“...Statistical data and a dry language of digits will tell us that the basketball club “Metalac” was founded in 1945, that it changed its name in BSK in 1950, in OKK Belgrade in 1958, that it had to exit the Federal league in 1955, and that it became Yugoslav champion in 1958, etc. However, only those people who have been with this club since it has been founded know what kind of difficulties this organisation encountered, organisation which almost from the scratch, through extensive and hard work made a team of European significance…”

Mister Milorad Erkic,
former player and Korac’s contemporary

Beginnings...

The roots of Yugoslav basketball are in Tasmajdan and Kalemegdan. It is there, that during the occupation, near the end of war, first basketball games could be seen. They were simple then, without much knowledge about the game and without sneakers. The young men were coming barefooted, not paying much attention to scratches and blisters. All credits for that go to doctor Svetislav Bata Vulovic, a man who brought the first basketball game ball and the rules of the game to Belgrade. He introduced the idea that would gather millions of sports fans, the idea that would present our country to the world in the most beautiful way.

Kalemegdan playing courts had immediately overcome their size. The sports events in Kalemegdan, especially the new game under the hoops, gathered all prominent people from various fields. With the rhythms of jazz, swing and twist, produced by the famous Bubisa Simic band, and the whole-day thud of the ball, Mali Kalemegdan (Small Kalemegdan) swayed in the rhythms of perfect music and pure emotions. Practically entire Belgrade social life was in those post-war years within the Kalemegdan fortress ramparts. Students and youth accepted basketball with great enthusiasm. Through this game, they saw the possibility for recognition. Basketball was for them more that throwing the ball through the net. It was the beauty, power and skill policy, the game which they liked and though which they wanted to be liked. A wave of positive energy spread over Belgrade and the whole country, creating condition for more serious forms of sports organisations, that is, establishing of sports societies, i.e. sport clubs.

The story of the basketball club Belgrade begins in that post-war period, in 1945, when following the initiative of the Metalworkers Union of Yugoslavia, well-known “klonfers”, the sports society “Metalac” was founded. In the same year, the sports societies “Partizan” and “Crvena Zvezda” were also founded. Football and basketball club with the same name were established within the sports society “Metalac”.

Basketball club “Metalac” made its debut in the national basketball championship in 1946, and was ranked sixth, which was a rather good entering position. In the period up to 1950, the biggest success was in 1949, when it was fifth.

In 1950, on proposal of the then famous Belgrade journalist Vladimir Dedijer, the entire sports society changed its name into BSK (Beogradski Sportski Klub – Belgrade Sports Club). More or less successful, basketball club BSK participated in the first Federal league until 1955 when it was out of the competition and transferred into a lower rank, that is, Serbian league. However, BSK team did not lose its faith and sports spirit, and despite difficult conditions, working hard returned to the Federal league already one year later. It took third position announcing the period in which the name of club and its stars would be written in golden letters, in the domestic and international scene.

Thorny road to stardom...

The period 1950-1956 will remain remembered as extremely difficult for the club and its players. Practice sessions took place at the open courts, which were not even equipped with the showers for players, mostly at inconvenient hours (in the severe heat or late at night); whereas the team travelled to matches in trucks. Nevertheless, the generation headed by Korac, Nikolic, Rajkovic, Erkic and Gordic was the generation of enthusiasts, young men who loved their club and endured all difficulties with humour and a smile on the face. Only two years later, the team’s youth spirit, engagement and a big heart replaced the trucks with sleeping cars, and the field courts of Kragujevac, Cacak, Smederevo, Novi Sad with the reflector lights of Tasmajdan, Paris, Milan, Antibes, Constantinople, Sofia, Turin…The names of OKK Beograd players shone as the brightest stars of the Yugoslav basketball sky, stars which lifted the club to the unimaginable heights, inscribing its name in the basketball history of the Old Continent in golden letters. The road to stardom was thorny, which makes it even more valuable and magnificent; it was achieved through hard work, affection towards the club and self-denial of the young men, who wore the blue –white jersey in the early 1960s.

Three years were particularly important for the formation of the championship team and the generation that would bring glory to the club from Celareva Street: 1953, 1954 and 1956.

The years 1953 and 1954 were especially important regarding the personnel changes in the then BSK when it comes to players and coaches. In 1953, Bora Stankovic became the coach of the club’s first team, whereas Rasa Saper became the team leader (“the connection” between the coach and the team on the one side and the club management on the other side). These two men, working in both international (Stankovic as a secretary general of FIBA, member of IOC; Saper as the president of the FIBA technical committee) and domestic scene (Stankovic as a long-time OKK Beograd coach, Saper as a long-time president of the Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia), significantly contributed not only to the development of the OKK Beograd, but to the development and affirmation of the Yugoslav basketball in general. A year later (in 1954), two new names from the team of juniors joined the first team. In the years to come these names would be memorized by the Yugoslav, European and world sports public, namely, that of Radivoj Korac and Slobodan Gordic. With those who had already been in the team (Erkic, Bogomir Rajkovic…) and those who were to come (Sija Nikolic, Trajko Rajkovic…) they would create the championship team, whose name would resound through European capitals.

The year 1956, although disastrous in terms of competition, brought key changes for the development of the club and the formation of the championship generation. Namely, in 1956, the club built its own court in 12, Celareva Street, setting in that way the infrastructural basis for qualitative and quantitative training process, that is, ending the process of the then BSK players’ “moving around” on other clubs’ courts.

Upon its comeback from the Serbian League to the Yugoslav Championship, and securing the third place in the final teams’ placement, in 1958, the club changed its name into OKK Beograd, keeping it until now.

Golden years...

In 1958, playing in the Yugoslav Championship, OKK Beograd was superior to all great clubs of the time from the former SFRY. Korac and friends defeated Olimpija (105-67), Red Star (67-65), Partizan (104-89), Zadar (111-84)... This winning streak in the domestic competition was finalized in the most beautiful way: the club earned its first state champion’s trophy… All participants in the domestic competition in 1958 understood that the Yugoslav basketball received a new superb club, which should be counted with in the future… istorijat6 OKK Beograd’s international performance in the season 1958/59 was also remarkable. On the way to semi-finals in the European Champions Cup, OKK Beograd eliminated AEK from Athens and the French champions Charleville from Mezieres, only to be defeated in the semi-finals by Akademik from Sofia, with a weaker point difference on the opponent’s court (Belgrade: 79-69; Sofia: 94-77).

In the period 1959-1962, ОКК Beograd recorded major successes. Following a low ranking in the domestic championship in 1959, in the season of 1960, OKK returned to the throne, defeating its opponents more powerfully and compellingly than in the first championship season, winning the state champions title for the second time. In this period, in international competitions, many clubs and national teams, “surrendered” to Zucko and his teammates, at home or on the road:

1960 - national team of Morocco, Lech (Warsaw, Polish champion)

1961 - Simenthal (Milan), Virtus (Bologna), Racing (Paris), Antwerpse (Belgium champion)

In 1962, OKK Beograd underwent changes on the coaching position. Due to obligations in the international basketball organisation, Bora Stankovic handed in the team coach position to Professor Aca Nikolic. Headed by Nikolic, OKK Beograd finished the season as second, losing to Olimpija from Ljubljana in the finals. However, despite this, in 1962, the Belgrade club won a new trophy after defeating Partizan 103-82 - that of the Yugoslav Cup champion.

The years 1963 and 1964 would remain remembered as the most successful in OKK Beograd’s history.

In 1963, Коrac, Erkic, Gordic, М. Nikolic, Т. Rajkovic, Pavelic, Tosic, Lj. Stankovic, Pazmanj, Kosovic, Ivackovic and Gajin “strolled” through the First League defeating all their opponents with an average 25-point- difference, scoring 15 wins and only 3 losses. In the final match, OKK defeated Partizan as well, earning another state champion’s title.

In 1964, Bora Stankovic returned as OKK Beograd’s coach, aiming at defending the championship title from the previous season. In the new season, similarly to the previous one, Korac and his friends were successful playing on their own court as well as on the opponents’ courts all over Yugoslavia. In the matches with OKK Beograd, Red Star, Partizan, Zadar, Slovan, Split, Olimpija, Lokomotiva, Radnicki were all defeated. The end result was the same: 15 wins and three losses, and another Yugoslav champion’s title for the team from Celareva Street.


Following OKK Beograd’s “golden years” (period 1957-1965) the championship team separates. Korac and Gordic leave to Belgium, Nikolic to Turkey, etc. The period without trophies lasted until 1993, when headed by Rajko Zizic, the club from Celareva Str. won the National Cup for the second time in its history.

Now and then...

Nowadays, ОКК Beograd represents a modern basketball club, where the high-quality trainings of both the first and younger teams take place. This sports environment gathers large number of young basketball players, national team players, who, playing for the OKK Beograd, gain experiences in the First League and develop into aspirant senior players.

Establishing its position in the First League, ОКК Beograd’s first team trains and plays in the Pionir Hall. Building of the sports centre “Radivoj Korac” in Celareva Street is currently in its final phase, and it is expected to be the infrastructural basis of the training process in “Zucko's home”, a nest where some new Korac, Nikolic, Gordic and others are to be raised; new basketball forces which would strive to bring the old glory back to OKK Beograd.

Sportski centar „RADIVOJ KORAĆ“

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