Club profile: Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade

Jul 01, 2014 by Print
Crvena Zvezda Telekom celebrates - EC13 (photo
Crvena Zvezda Telekom BelgradeCrvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade is coming off of its best season this century, and ready for its second consecutive Turkish Airlines Euroleague appearance. The Serbian powerhouse made its debut last season and took eventual champion Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv as well as Panathinaikos Athens to the wire, but a 4-6 regular season record in a tough group was not enough to advance to the Top 16. However, Zvezda continued its journey in the Eurocup, and made its way to the semifinals where it lost a two-game series against Unica Kazan. Domestically, Zvezda lifted its second consecutive Serbian Cup, but came up just short, losing the Adriatic League semifinals to Cibona Zagreb and the Serbian League finals against Partizan NIS. In a country that claims basketball as its main sport, Zvezda and its army of great fans are looking to build on the success of past seasons, hungry for more victories among Europe’s elite, and to add more trophies to club’s rich history. One cannot discuss great teams in the cradle of European basketball without bringing up Crvena Zvezda, which translates as Red Star. It was among the most-crowned teams in the former Yugoslavia and always commanded attention wherever it played. The club was founded in 1945 and immediately dominated. For an entire decade, from 1946 to 1955, Zvezda won 10 straight titles and assured its place in the history books. With basketball's rise in popularity came plenty of challengers, and Zvezda waited until 1972 for the next domestic title, then 21 years again for another. There was also a European title, the 1974 Saporta Cup, and three Yugoslavian Cups to boast. In the modern era, Zvezda has remained strong. It picked up its first trophy in years by winning the 2004 Serbia and Montenegro Cup in stirring fashion, after a weekend full of overtime games. In its ULEB Cup debut, Zvezda was eliminated from the playoff hunt on the last day of the regular season. Once Milan Gurovic arrived in 2005-06, things got even better. The superstar forward led Zvezda to the ULEB Cup quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007, where it lost against eventual champions Dynamo Moscow and Real Madrid, respectively. Zvezda also advanced to the Serbian League finals both years, but archrival Partizan stood in the way to success. Zvezda was among the Eurocup Last 16 in 2009 and the following season only missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker. After two relatively quiet seasons, in 2011-12, under Coach Svetislav Pesic, Zvezda fought its way to the finals of both the Serbian Cup and the League playoff. The club built on that success, and the following season finally lifted the Serbian Cup - its first trophy in seven years – and also played in the Adriatic League and Serbian League finals. Despite losing both to Partizan, the rise of Zvezda continued last season. Now, after again becoming a force to be reckoned with, the club and its loyal fans expect nothing less this year, and are setting their sights to lift more trophies.
Eurocup: Semifinalist
ABA Liga: Semifinalist
Serbian League: Finalist
Serbian Cup: Champion