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” 101 Greats of European Basketball,” a limited-edition collection published in 2018 by Euroleague Basketball, honors more than six years’ worth of stars who helped raise the sport on the Old Continent to its contemporary heights. Author Vladimir Stankovic, who began covering a number of those greats in 1969, utilizes their private stories and profiles to show that European basketball’s roots run long and deep at the exact same time that the sport here is nurtured by gamers from around the globe, creating a true team dynamic unlike anywhere else. His study covers gamers who were retired before the book was released and who motivated the numerous others who came after them. Take pleasure in!

The name definitely sounds familiar. Jiri Zidek has actually been a coworker of mine, working as a writer for Euroleague.net and as a color commentator on Euroleague.TV. He is likewise one of the couple of males – and the very first European – to have actually won both the NCAA Competition and the EuroLeague championship, with UCLA in 1995 and Zalgiris in 1999, respectively. It’s true that Zidek certainly deserves his own location amongst the greats, due to his many great accomplishments. But first I wish to discuss another Jiri Zidek, his father.

Precisely 30 years before Jiri Zidek Jr.’s success with Zalgiris in Munich back in 1999, Jiri Zidek Sr won the Saporta Cup title with his team, Slavia Prague. Dinamo Tbilisi, representing the Soviet Union, and Slavia, representing Czechoslovakia, played the title video game on April 17, 1969. Slavia won 80-74. As far as I know, the Zideks are the only case in which a father and child have won a title in European club competitions. A year prior to that, Zidek Sr. was the star of a historic video game – the 1968 Saporta Cup last in Athens, Greece on April 4, 1968. Slavia faced AEK at Panathinaiko Stadium. Formally, it was a sellout of 52,880, but many reports claim there were in between 60,000 and 80,000 fans on hand if you count those who cheered from outside because they could not make it into the stadium. AEK beat Slavia 89-82 to win the first European title for a Greek basketball club, however the star of the game was Zidek Sr., who scored 31 points.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia on February 8, 1944, Zidek Sr. spent the best and greatest part of his career with Slavia, a team that had a terrific sporting rivalry with Spartak Brno to be the very best in the country throughout the 1960s and the 1970s. Slavia was referred to as “The Jiris” because lot of times its starting 5 featured Jiri Ruzicka, Jiri Stasny, Jiri Ammer, Jiri Zednicek and Jiri Zidek, with Jiri Konopasek coming off the bench. Spartak was represented by Kamil Brabenec, Zdenek and Jan Bobrovsky, Vladimir Pistalek, Frantisek Konvicka, Frantisek Pokorny and Zdenek Konecny. All of them played together on a strong Czechoslovakian national team that won the silver medal at the 1967 EuroBasket in Helsinki, Finland. Czechoslovakia was defeated by the Soviet Union, 87-79, in the title game, however Zidek had 23 points against giants like Vladimir Andreev and Alzhan Zarmuhamedov. Zidek averaged 13.8 points because tournament. Two years later, Czechoslovakia won the bronze medal at the 1969 EuroBasket in Naples, Italy, with Zidek balancing 12.6 points.

Zidek was the top scorer (18.6 ppg.) at the 1970 World Cup in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. He scored much more (20.4 ppg.) at the 1971 EuroBasket in Essen, West Germany, and delighted in a strong efficiency (12.7 ppg., 4.8 rebounds) at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Overall, Zidek played 257 games with the Czechoslovakian national group. There is no proof of how many points he scored with his nationwide group, but in a phone conversation, Zidek Sr. gave me rough numbers of his fantastic career: