The huge impact Duda left for Euro basketball
Dusan ‘Duda’ Ivkovic left a strong legacy to remember. The former player and coach have given most of his life for the love of the game, and his success will go down as one of the best runs in basketball history.
Duda is among the small number of people who gave back to the sport as a whole. His impact has seen every player, coach, fan and team that he may or may not have touched with his actions. His influence extends all the way to the West as one of the bright minds in the game.
The coach was big with every team he led. A total of 20 trophies was won in his years of success and even the EuroLeague was in that tally as well. Duda won two of those titles with Olympiacos.
His run at the helm of Yugoslavia is also a treasured legacy. Spending 46 years as a coach, Duda has left a long list of wins and feats that are too long to list down. However, what truly matters was the impact he had on the game itself.
Perhaps ‘legacy’ is the best word that proves his worth with the game. Many people in basketball get to visit places, get results and leave but Duda, in his own right, kept track of what he did over the years and valued the stories that came after.
Duda has always aimed for the top but never saw it as the main goal. He was chasing to create a bigger story that would last for a few years. He worked on a system with young and veteran players alike, assistants that would be ready to take over after him, and a healthy club as a whole.
The coach made sure that what he built will last for more years. Doing that in the course of over 50 years will make it roar louder for the next few decades as well.
Speaking of impact, there are many icons that have been touched by Duda’s brilliance. Vassilis Spanoulis is one of the best examples as he coached the star and helped him shape his big game.
Zeljko Obradovic is also a great coach thanks to Duda’s teachings. He even picked him as the next man for the national team back then. Gregg Popovich even admitted that he imitated some of the best plays he saw from Duda and it worked all the way to the modern era.
If Duda tried for the NBA, the story would have been different and his impact could've been bigger. However, the coach stayed in Europe not because he couldn’t make it to the NBA, but because he wanted his impact to happen there.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores