To start the series of the best European basketball players of the last 50 years, I will introduce you one of the best Shooting Guards ever to come from former Yugoslavia and maybe the best Slovenian basketball player of all time: Ivo Daneu.
Daneu joined Ljubljana at the age of 19 after having played with Branik Maribor before. He directly won the Yugoslavian championship for the first time in 1957, his first season with the team. He won the championship in total 5 times, added several World and European Championship as well as Olympic medals. He reached the Final Four with Olimpija Ljubljana in 1967 and also scored 45pts against Real Madrid in the semi-finals in 1962.
He was voted best sportsmen of Yugoslavia in 1967, the year where he was the MVP of the World Championship and a winner of a silver medal. In 1970, at the end of his career, he won the Gold Medal of the World Championship that was held in his homecountry and in his arena, the Tivoli of Ljubljana.
After his career as a player, Daneu became head coach of Ljubljana for the 1970/71 season but without a big success. He retired as coach after that season and had some administrative roles within the Olimpija organization without ever being on the top of the decisional level. He had a short intermediary coaching job in 1976 with Rudar Trbovlje.
Daneu retired completely from basketball after that, but he had an important role in the Slovenian independancy process. He was the first person to talk in public about Slovenia to become an independent country and made the proposition for a referendum in the National Assembly in 1990 for the secession from Yugoslavia.
These days, Ivo Daneu is retired and enjoys his life in Ljubljana. He is present to every game of the Slovenian top team, and he sits every game nearly at the same chair, close to the wall from the hall where he won the first World Championship gold medal in the history of Yugoslavian basketball. He is also a very respected person in Slovenia, and local journalists love to ask him his opinion about all kind of things. He is known for always pronouncing his opinion, and opinions are always welcome to journalists.
Ivo Daneu has been inducted to the FIBA Hall of Fame in September 2007 and is the first Slovenian player to have this honor. And since then, you can also find a youtube clip about Ivo Daneu that remembers all the different competitions he won and shows some pictures about his past.[youtube 8ymlHpL34eM nolink]
Sources: kzs-zveza.si, wikipedia.org, eurobasket.com, fiba.com, MB