By John Askounis/ email@example.com
Legendary Borislav Stankovic passed away at the age of 94 in his home at Belgrade, Serbia.
His enormous contribution to basketball throughout his life was well-recognized and included his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction in 1991.
As FIBA’s Secretary General in 1989, he laid the foundations for NBA players to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time by adjusting FIBA’s rules. As a result, the Dream Team appeared and ultimately conquered gold in Barcelona.
Apart from being FIBA’s Secretary General between 1976 and 2002, Stankovic further served basketball as a member of the International Olympic Committee, the Yugoslav Basketball Committee, and the Board of Trustees at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
As a player was included among the founding Crvena Zvezda members back in 1946, also competed for Zeleznicar and Partizan, and was on the Yugoslav senior team for five years. After retiring, he went on to coach OKK Beograd and Cantu.
Per FIBA: “It is with profound sadness that FIBA on March 20, 2020, confirmed the passing of FIBA Secretary General Emeritus Borislav Stankovic. He was 94 years old.
Borislav Stankovic served as FIBA’s second Secretary General from 1976 to 2002 and was a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He had been FIBA’s Secretary General Emeritus since 2003.
FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said: “On behalf of FIBA, I wish to express our deepest sympathies and pass on our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Stankovic’s family, friends and loved ones.
“Whether as participant to the first-ever World Cup game in 1950, as organizer of the first-ever World Cup taking place in Europe (Yugoslavia, 1970) or as leader of the International Basketball Federation for a quarter of a century, Borislav Stankovic will always be one of the most important figures in the history of our sport. We are eternally grateful to him for all he did in implementing concrete changes without which FIBA would not be where it is today.”
During his time at the helm of FIBA, he is credited with countless achievements, the most significant of which were continually working towards building bridges between the East and West during the Cold War and working closely with the former NBA Commissioner David Stern in the late 1980s-early 1990s to bring world basketball into the modern era. This resulted in having, for the first time ever, professional players participate in top-level national team competitions (Olympic Games, FIBA Basketball World Cup), starting at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
Beyond basketball, he sat on and/or chaired numerous IOC and international sporting committees and commissions.
Mr. Stankovic’s many efforts and contributions have been recognized with countless awards and merits all over the world.
He is survived by one daughter, two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren.”
Sorrow all over the basketball world
The mourning for Bora Stankovic includes every basketball stakeholder. Every local basketball federation, every club, and every competition are expressing their condolences.
“On behalf of the Euroleague Basketball family, let me express our condolences to the loved ones and many friends of the late Bora Stankovic, one of the pioneers of basketball in Europe,” Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO of Euroleague Basketball, said. “His life-long dedication to basketball was an example for everyone, and the imprint he left on our sport will never be forgotten.”
“Through the game he loved, Boris changed the lives of countless people around the world”, added NBA commissioner Adam Silver.