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Aleksandar "Aca" Nikolic

Known as the "father of Yugoslavian basketball," Aleksandar Nikolic spent his life teaching, coaching, and spreading basketball throughout Europe. In 1953, Nikolic took over the Yugoslavian national team, and just like that turned a nation with relatively little basketball history into a European force. In 1977, Nikolic led Yugoslavia to victory over Aleksandr Gomelsky’s powerful Soviet team in the finals of the European Championships, a remarkable upset. One year later, Yugoslavia again beat the Soviet team to take the gold in the World Championships. Nikolic's legacy extends beyond his winning teams. His grueling practices and coaching style with its five set plays, a sideline fast break, and eye-hand-chest defense, had other coaches emulating his techniques. Nikolic viewed coaching as a full-time profession and as such he dedicated all his time to his teams. He outworked other coaches and his scouting reports were impeccable. 

Enshrined 1998
Born October 28, 1924 Sarajevo, BA
Died March 12, 2000
Professional Career Ignis Varese Belgrade Partizan OKK Belgrade Petrarca Fortitudo Borac V. L. Pesaro Reyer Venice Virtus Bologna Red Star Belgrade
Career Stats
2x EUROPEAN
COACH OF THE YEAR
1966, 1976
1 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
WITH YUGOSLAV NATIONAL TEAM
1977
1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
YUGOSLAV NATIONAL TEAM
1978
3x YUGOSLAV LEAGUE
CHAMPIONS (PLAYER)
1947-49
3x EUROLEAGUE CHAMPIONS
1970, 1972, 1973
2x FIBA INTERCONTINENTAL CUP
CHAMPIONS
1970, 1973