One of the most beloved leaders in global basketball has passed away, Friday evening (Manila time).
Borislav Stankovic, the International Basketball Federation’s secretary-general emeritus, has died due to natural causes.
He was 94 years old.
“Whether as a participant to the first-ever World Cup game in 1950, as the 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,” read the statement of FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis.
“We are eternally grateful to him for all he did in implementing concrete changes without which FIBA would not be where it is today.”
It is an understatement to say that Stankovic greatly contributed to the growth of basketball worldwide.
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.
For his contributions to the sport, the FIBA Asia Challenge, a qualifier for the FIBA Asia Championship, was named after him from 2004 to 2010 and, later on, 2012 to 2014.
Another tournament named in honor of him was the FIBA Stanković Continental Champions’ Cup, also known as the FIBA Mini Basketball World Cup.
Beyond basketball, he sat on and/or chaired numerous IOC and international sporting committees and commissions.
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.