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Dejan Bodiroga, Serbia
Fiba.com: "The 1995 European Championship final in Athens will go down
as one of the greatest ever. It had everything, an electric atmosphere, an
outstanding individual performance and plenty of controversy.
The final featured 2 teams that had not even played 2 years previously. Lithuania were back at the event, led by their triumvirate of stars, Sarunas Marciulionis, Rimas Kurtinaitis and Arvydas Sabonis. Yugoslavia, meanwhile, were reinstated after the politically enforced ban.
The Yugoslavs were hungry to take off from where they left world basketball in 1991, and with the likes of Aleksander Djordjevic, Zarko Paspalj, Predrag Danilovic, Zoran Savic, Dejan Bodiroga and Zeljko Rebraca, they had the personnel for the job.
The game was marked by a remarkable performance from Djordjevic, perhaps the finest in any European Championship final. The 188 cm guard torched Lithuania for 41 points on 9/12 three point shooting. Marciulionis was almost as spectacular, tallying 32 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, but it was not enough to stop Yugoslavia from winning, 96-90..."
Euroleague.net: Grew up with
Proleter Zrenjanin (Yugoslavia) youth teams...made his debut with KK Zadar
(Yugoslavia) during the 1990-91 season...played there also the following 1991-92
championship...moved to Italy for the 1992-93 season, signed by Pallacanestro
Stefanel Trieste... played tehre also the 1993-94 championship...signed by
Pallacanestro Olimpia Milan for the 1994-95 season...played there also the
1995-96 championship. Selected in the 1995 NBA Draft by Sacramento Kings
(#51)... moved for the 1996-97 to Spain signed by Real Madrid CF.... played
there till the 1997-98 championship... moved to Greece for the 1998-99 season,
signed by Panathinaikos AO Athens... played there till the 2001-02
championship...moved to Spain for the 2002-03 season, signed by FC
Barcelona... he's still playing there.
Name: Dejan Bodiroga
Nickname: Bodi Bond, God, White Magic
Born: March 02, 1973
Origin: Zrenjanin, Serbia
Schools: Stefanel Milano (Italy)
Drafted: 1995, Second Round, 51st pick by Sacramento Kings
Languages: Serbian, Italian, English
Website: InterBasket & DejanBodiroga.com
Teams (jersey): Yugoslavian National Team (4), Zadar (Yugoslavia), Stefanel Trieste (Italy), Olimpia Milan (Italy), Real Madrid (Spain), Panathinaikos Athens (Greece), F.C. Barcelona (Spain), Lottomatica Roma (Italy)
Ibn Notes: Bodiroga has been the top player in Europe over the past several seasons and has been the catalyst behind many European Championships. He has reached legendary status as one of Europe's all time greats. And he is still in the prime of his career. Though he has the ability to dominate the game in Europe, many feel he wouldn't translate well to the NBA because of his lack of quickness. The Kings still own his rights and it's conceivable they could look to try to bring him over. The drawback to Bodiroga's game is that he needs to have the ball go through him in order to be an effective player. Bodiroga would have to take a significant pay cut and disrupt his lofty status as a European basketball god to be a role player in the NBA. It's unlikely but not impossible. From Fiba.com: "...giving the list of (Bodiroga's) trophies, medals or MVP titles wouldn’t even tell you half of Dejan Bodiroga’s impact on European basketball. In Serbia-Montenegro, people just call him “God”. He’s simply the best…
He was called “White Magic” or “Bodi Bond”, and fans in Serbia and Montenegro gave him a very simple name: “God”. These nicknames tell the story of a player who has dominated European basketball for a decade. Of course, we are talking about Dejan Bodiroga. When he was slowly rising to the top, people compared him with Magic Johnson. Actually, he was a white version of the NBA legend. But for the fans, the wizardry of L.A. Lakers legend wasn’t enough. Bodiroga became Mr. Bond. His smooth style is accompanied by ruthless execution, and together they make a deadly weapon. A long time ago, he was drafted by the Sacramento Kings, but decided not to cross the ocean.
Instead, he stayed in Europe and ruled the continent. Still, he didn’t miss a chance to take on the NBA’s best players. In the 1996 Olympics and 2002 World championships, he showed the Dream Team guys that they are lucky he is not in the league. “We have a god and his name is Bodiroga”, is a chorus sung by fans in Belgrade every time he brings another gold medal to his country. The collection of club and national team titles, MVP trophies (4 European MVP honours, in 1999, 2000, 02 and 03), All Star games, is huge. The most important are three Euroleague, three EuroBasket, two World Championship titles and one Olympic silver medal. One of the interesting facts is that he was born in Klek, a small village in Serbia. Nothing special, but that same village produced two more great athletes. The Grbic brothers, Vladimir and Nikola, are among the best volleyball players in the world, and have a big collection of European, World and Olympic medals of their own. When the season or any kind of tournament begins, in the bookies list for the MVP, the odds for Dejan are usually 1:1, which means he’s a 100 percent favourite. There was a rule in Europe saying that if you want to win a title you should hire Bodiroga. Now he’s a veteran probably saying goodbye to the national team, wanting to do it in style. But he is still a leader and a great role model to the young ones. He isn’t explosive and fast and you won’t see him dunk or even shoot the three, but his playing technique, dribbling skills, cold blooded attitude and intelligence put him high above competition. Many players are labeled “all-around”, but Bodiroga is probably the only one who can play all five positions on the court when necessary. And for the end a small piece of advice for anyone who enters the court with him: If the game is tied and the clock is ticking away, don’t let him get the ball and don’t, by any means foul him, because when he steps up to the free throw line, you’re history.
|Dejan Bodiroga Links From our forum: Serbia Basketball Forum, What's Happening With Serbian Basketball?? Articles and other resources: Dejan Bodiroga Timeline (DejanBodiroga.com), A Classic Final (Fiba.com), Dejan Bodiroga Interview (HoopsHype, 2003), Dejan Bodiroga Highlight Clip (YouTube), Dejan Bodiroga Inteview (In Italian, YouTube), Yugoslavia European Champion 2001 (Fiba.com), Bodiroga Out to Prove Critics Wrong (Fiba.com)|