First Federal Basketball League

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First Federal Basketball League
Sport Basketball
Founded 1945
Ceased 1992
Countries Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia
Continent FIBA Europe (Europe)
Partizan (5th title)
Most titles Crvena zvezda (12 titles)
Level on pyramid 1st Tier
Relegation to 1. B Federal Basketball League
Yugoslav Basketball Cup

The First Federal Basketball League (Serbo-Croatian: Prva savezna košarkaška liga) was the name of the top-tier level professional basketball league that was played in SFR Yugoslavia, from 1945 to 1991–92, and run by Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia. The First Federal League was the top-tier level league in Yugoslavia, and the Second Federal League was the second-tier level league in Yugoslavia. With a total of 16 European-wide trophy winners and 11 finalists, the Yugoslav First Basketball League was one of the strongest European national domestic basketball leagues of all time.

Although all of the former Yugoslavian countries that were founded after the breakup of Yugoslavia, each now have their own national domestic leagues, each of the six nations also now take part in the ABA League (commonly known as the Adriatic League), which was founded in 2001; and which is, the closest basketball league in existence today, that is similar to the former Yugoslav Basketball League.


After the end of Second World War in Yugoslavia in 1945, there arose a need for athletic development in the fledgling nation. Post-WW2 Yugoslavia was (with the exception of major cities such as Belgrade, Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Sarajevo) for the most part lacking in competitive opportunities in sports. In response to this, 1945 and 1946 saw an explosion of new clubs and leagues for every sport, the basketball league being part of this phenomenon.

The very first competition under the newly formed Yugoslav Basketball League in 1945, drawing parallel to the Yugoslav First League (of football), was more or less a nationwide affirmation of unity. Instead of individual clubs competing in the usual fashion, there were only eight teams. Six representing each state within Yugoslavia, one representing the province of Vojvodina, and the last representing the Yugoslav People's Army.

Only in the 1970s did the basketball culture of Yugoslavia truly come to enjoy recognition as the top nation in basketball. Breaking away from the dominance of the Soviet Union, the Yugoslav league gave rise to stars that would go on to win multiple Basketball World Championships and European Basketball Championships. After a decade of dominance, the 1980s saw a disappointing slump of talent in the Yugoslav Basketball League.

Once again the world witnessed a sleeping giant come awake in the early 90s as Yugoslavia won two straight European Basketball Championships and a World Basketball Championship. This momentum was swiftly halted by the ethnic strife which broke out in 1991. Clubs from SR Slovenia and SR Croatia withdrew from the league so that the 1991–92 season, the competition's last, was contested without them. The country got divided into five successor republics, each founding their own basketball federations with the exception of Serbia and Montenegro, which retained the name Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the YUBA League.

Despite all these changes, the joint league of clubs from the former Yugoslavia proved to be a winning league format formula, so on July 3, 2001, the Adriatic League was founded. It features teams from all the former Yugoslav states, and it exists alongside scaled-down versions of the individual national domestic leagues of each of the former Yugoslav states.

Title holders

Performance by club

Titles Club Years
12 Crvena zvezda 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1968–69, 1971–72
6 Olimpija 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1969–70
Zadar 1965, 1967, 1967–68, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1985–86
Split 1970–71, 1976–77, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91
5 Partizan 1975–76, 1978–79, 1980–81, 1986–87, 1991–92
4 OKK Beograd 1958, 1960, 1963, 1964
3 Bosna 1977–78, 1979–80, 1982–83
Cibona 1981–82, 1983–84, 1984–85
1 Yugoslav Army 1945
Proleter Zrenjanin 1956
Radnički Belgrade 1972–73

Performance by constitutional republics

Titles Republic
23 Socialist Republic of Serbia SR Serbia
15 Socialist Republic of Croatia SR Croatia
6 Socialist Republic of Slovenia SR Slovenia
3 Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina SR Bosnia and Herzegovina

Playoff finals

Playoffs as a way of determining the Yugoslav First Basketball League champion following the regular season got instituted in 1981 ahead of the 1981–82 season.

Season Home court advantage Result Home court disadvantage 1st of Regular Season Record
Cibona Partizan
Bosna Šibenka
Crvena zvezda Cibona
Crvena zvezda Cibona
Zadar Cibona
Crvena zvezda Cibona
Partizan Jugoplastika
Jugoplastika Partizan
Crvena zvezda Jugoplastika
Pop 84
Partizan Pop 84
Crvena zvezda Partizan

Source: official website archive[3]

Clubs in European and worldwide competitions

Notable players

Award winners

First Federal Basketball League statistical leaders

Successor leagues

See also


  1. ^ On Saturday, 9 April 1983 at Baldekin Hall in Šibenik, Šibenka and Bosna played the deciding game 3 of their best-of-three playoff final series. The contest was decided in the very last second: Bosna's Sabit Hadžić got called for a foul on Šibenka's Dražen Petrović who proceeded to score two free throws that won the game. The next morning, after watching video replays of the game's last moments, the presidency of the Basketball Federation of Yugoslavia (KSJ) established that the foul happened after time had already elapsed. The game was thus voided and a rematch was ordered at a neutral venue in Novi Sad. Unhappy with the decision Šibenka decided to boycott it, refusing to show up for the rematch. The championship got awarded to Bosna.[1]


  1. ^ "Režimski poraz iz ´83. bio je pobjeda: "I hrvatski klubovi grozili su se na pomisao da Dražen sa Šibenkom osvoji naslov"" (in Croatian). 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  2. ^ "Tri decenije od historijske utakmice Bosne i Šibenke (VIDEO)". Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Tabele državnih prvenstava od sezone 1991/92 (archive copy at the Wayback Machine)". Basketball League of Serbia. 5 June 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2010. 
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