Serbia is a country that simply loves team sports, and you could say that for a country that has less than eight million people we have a lot of success. Because of that collective sports would have a special attention among the domestic sports public.
We don´t want to bit if people like volleyball or football or water polo or basketball the most, but the last sport is the most influential among the general public. “Monuments” dedicated to basketball can be seen all over the city and we guarantee that all lovers of this sport will enjoy in the Serbian capital.
- Monument to Basketball
Belgrade Arena was officially opened in 2005 and it has an outstanding CV so far. Built for the European Basketball Championship in 2005, it so far hosted championships in track&field, water polo, futsal… However, only basketball has a monument that you can find at the northern entrance to the arena. Sculpture was built also in 2005 and the author is Mr. Miodrag Živković.
2. Belgrade Fortress
Belgrade fortress is the must see destination for everyone that come and visit Belgrade and basketball is more than present among its walls. Basketball teams of the two most important sport societies, Red Star and Partizan Belgrade, were founded at the Belgrade fortress and that space can rightfully be named the cradle of the Serbian basketball. Courts of the two teams are still in use and serve for the development of young players and in December last year it has become even more important because the monument in honor of the national team that took part at the first World Cup in 1950 was erected.
3. First Basketball Game
Although Belgrade Fortress courts were made after the World War II, amateur basketball was already been played in Serbia for two decades. William Wieland, Red Cross Missionary from the USA, spent time in Belgrade at the end of 1923. His job was to teach basketball to the school children of “Kralj Petar I” Elementary School. In the oldest school in Serbia, placed in the Belgrade historical centre has a table where it is proudly written that it was a place of a first basketball game in Serbia.
4. Tradition Comes First
Today Serbia is a well known country in the world of basketball, but more then a half a century ago that was not the case. At first Yugoslavia was not among the favorites and was not recognized as a country that can organize major sports events. All that changed in 1961 when first European Basketball Championship was held in Yugoslavia and its capital – Belgrade. Then, national team won the first medal (silver) and baskets used back then are still functional and placed in an Elementary School “Lazar Savatić” backyard. School is close to Gardoš, popular tourist destination.
5. Radivoj Korać´s Corner
At the European Championship we mentioned, award for the best scorer and the Most Valuable Player went to Radivoj Korać. First major star of Serbian and Yugoslav basketball was a player of an outstanding potential and remembered as a player that scored 99 points in the European Champions Cup for OKK Beograd against Swedish side of Alvik. Unfortunately, he died in a car accident when he was only 30 years old. In his honor, main walking street in Belgrade has “Radivoj Korać´s Corner”, dedicated to one of the best basketball players that ever walked there.
These are some of the most interesting places for all basketball lovers to visit in Belgrade. Of course, history of the city after the World War II and basketball is entwined at few more places. It is your job to discover them when you arrive next year at the fifth European Universities Games in Belgrade.